7 Questions to Find the Right Speaker

Picture it.  Your organization is planning a live or on-line event.  You need a dynamic keynote speaker who is on target.  Due to budget you are not going after the most famous speakers whose specialty you already know.  

How do you select the right professional speaker from the millions (yes — millions) out there?  There are hundreds of speaker sites with pictures, videos, bios, one sheets, and testimonials.  Before you search these sites, use these guidelines to prepare and save time.

To find the right professional keynote speaker for your live or online event, first answer the following 7 questions:

  1. What is the primary thing you want the audience to  experience? 
    Change in perspective?  
    Fun time?
    Touching moment?
    Deep thought?
    Change in behavior?
    Specific skills?
    Call to action?
  2. Who is your target audience  — specifically?  Sounds like a simple question yet take a minute and describe it more completely.  For example: Our target audience is front-line customer service professionals and their front-line managers in the technology industry faced with the stress of reorganization and possible downsizing or outsourcing.  They are from all over the globe and vary in culture, age, and background.   
  3. What one topic will connect best to your event?
    Leadership?  Customer Service?   Teamwork?   Change?   Finance?   Healthcare?   Sales?   etc….
  4. Given that one topic, what is the ONE message you want your audience to receive? 
    Dig just a bit deeper to highlight some specifics.  Example: If your main topic is customer service, clarify whether you mean selling to customers or serving customers.  This is the biggest area of confusion and often you end up with the wrong speaker.  There is a difference between sales and service!  Is your message how to sell better or how to serve better?
  5. If you are not the decision maker for this event, ask the decision maker(s) what situation would keep them awake at night?  In tough times, this is the topic they will most likely purchase. 
  6. Also ask the decision maker(s), what bright picture do they see for their business or industry.  If they are visionary leaders, they will purchase a topic that will help get them there.
  7. Scope and reach.  Do they picture this event with a local or global focus?  Simply within their industry or across industries?  Does it affect all generations or a specific one?  Will there be different cultures involved? This scope and reach step clarifies the needs even further and puts a spotlight on those speakers you will want.

You will get far better proposals from speakers when you first prepare with this list.   Regardless of your topic or audience, these 7 questions will help you sail through the speakers’ sites with greater speed and *most importantly with the end result of picking the right speaker for your live or on-line event.

I have been a professional speaker and trainer on customer service, teamwork, and change for 20 years.  I ask these 7 questions when planners call me.    It tells me right away if I am the right speaker for their event or if not, who I would recommend.  So I offer these 7 questions for your success in finding the right speaker every time!

I welcome your questions, comments, and contributions in the comments field below.   You are welcome to use this info on other sites if you will credit this site as the source. 

To receive updates and  my new blog posts, please click the RSS feed button.  I look forward to your events when I am the right speaker and helping you find the one when I’m not.

Many thanks and speak with you soon!  Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach

4 Responses to “7 Questions to Find the Right Speaker”

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  3. Jeff Hurt says:

    I’ve hired more than 2,500 speakers in the past several years and there are two things I focus on: delivery and content. I’m jaded when it comes to hiring speakers since I’ve seen so many speaker proposals, speaker marketing packets, one sheets and videos. I can tell within the first 30 seconds of a speaker’s video if he or she is worth pursuing further.

    I believe the most important part of the speakers presentation is their delivery style. A speaker with good delivery style and poor content will win rave reviews from the audience. How many times have we sat through presentations that we really enjoyed and then walked away saying, “What was that about?” A speaker with good content and poor delivery will result in bad reviews and a disconnected audience. A good example of this is most college professors who lecture with good content but bore their students. The real win is when a speaker has good delivery and good content with only 3-5 main points–not data dumps please. That’s when the audience enjoys the presentation and walks away with relevant content that they can apply immediately. And, the audience remembers those points. Ultimately, it’s about the audience, not the speaker. Don’t be the sage on the stage, be the guide on the side.

  4. Kate Nasser says:

    Jeff,
    I love your comment on:
    “The real win is when a speaker has good delivery and good content with only 3-5 main points–not data dumps please. That’s when the audience enjoys the presentation and walks away with relevant content that they can apply immediately. And, the audience remembers those points. Ultimately, it’s about the audience, not the speaker.”
    I have had people debate this topic with me. They say content is more important than delivery. My reply is… you must deliver both. If the delivery is not dynamic, no one will hear or remember it.
    Thanks for your comment! And thankfully as a speaker I am in the “both” category.
    Kate Nasser

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