Don't Let Your Guest Speakers Ruin Your Corporate Event

Nov 14 15:16 2008 Ron Isaiah Print This Article

Great care must be used in selecting guest speakers for your meeting or event, because the right motivational speaker or entertainer can make or break it. If you're hiring a guest speaker, be sure to choose someone who is motivational and inspiring or an expert in your field or business. Choose someone who will help you reach the goals for your event.

Great care must be used in selecting guest speakers for your meeting or event,Guest Posting because the right motivational speaker or entertainer can make or break it. If you're hiring a guest speaker, be sure to choose someone who is motivational and inspiring or an expert in your field or business. Choose someone who will help you reach the goals for your event.

Consider how the group will benefit from the experience and from the professional speakers you choose. Consider how your event will benefit from the entertainment value the keynote speakers or entertainers provide.

The best source for guest speaker referrals is from friends, colleagues and business associates. Still, you need to be sure to check their references. Do they have a reputation for being reliable? Are they professional? Do they fit your business's image? Will they be dressed appropriately or displaying or using offensive language or imagery?

Whatever your needs, be sure to have a realistic and well thought out budget. Remember that entertainment and speakers' fees are always negotiable, so don't be afraid to make an offer. Choose wisely though. While one entertainer might charge you $4,000 and be worth twice that amount, another could charge $10,000 and be terribly disappointing.

Money Saving Tips for Hiring Public Speakers

The following are some money saving strategies you might employ:

-Hire local entertainers to save on transportation costs. With the recent hike in fuel prices, this could make a huge difference in your bottom line.

-If you have meetings in multiple cities or locations, perhaps your motivational speakers will agree to multiple bookings at a "bulk" or reduced rate.

-Choose inspirational speakers who can also put on workshops. You can also ask your speaker, celebrity, or entertainer, without being overly imposing, to attend other segments of your event or to participate in other activities at your event. While they would be free to decline such a request, think of the added value it would lend to your event if they accepted your invitation. It doesn't hurt to ask.

-Negotiate a flat rate for the speaker rather than a fee plus expenses.

-Offer the speaker the opportunity to record their presentation and update their CD or DVD collection they sell themselves. This could save them thousands.

-Offer to buy books, CD's or other products from your speaker or entertainer in lieu of an entertainment fee. Providing these to your guests during your event brings an added value to it as well.

-Offer the speaker the opportunity to sell their materials at your event in exchange for a discounted fee.

Sources for Finding Entertainers and Guest Speakers

If you don't have personal resources to employ for your search, there are various places you can contact to seek a referral:

Chambers of Commerce

Convention and Visitors' Bureaus

Professional Associates

Phone Directories

Online Directories

Speakers Bureaus

Remember to check the references of the referring bureau as well as the speaker.

After you have provided a general profile of what you're looking for to the bureau, they can provide you with demos to assist you in your selection process. Pay attention to how the speaker or entertainer interacts with the group or audience, how well he delivers his message and what overall feeling you might come away with if you were present. Is this the right speaker or entertainer for your group? Does it fit your business image? If not, move on to the next one.

If you're hiring musical entertainment as well, be sure that it is appropriate and suited to the taste of the attendees. Obviously it wouldn't go over well to book a polka band for a college graduation event.

You should be aware that some bureaus may charge you a finder's fee for their services, especially for booking celebrities. A 10% finder's fee is normal and should be expected and budgeted for if you take this route.

Here is a list of speakers bureaus to help you get started: (note that the Harry Walker Agency and the Washington Speakers Bureau both specialize in celebrity speakers)

American speakers Bureau:

Eagles Talent Connection:

Harry Walker Agency:

The Speakers Bureau:

Speakers Unlimited:

Universal Speakers Bureau:

Walters Speaker services:

Washington Speakers Bureau:

After you have chosen your guest speakers, trainers, teachers, or entertainers, draw up a precise contract which explicitly states your expectations of them and what you're willing to offer them in return. Be sure to include your request to preview their presentation as well.

Other Considerations

Before you contract your guest speaker or entertainer there are other issues which might need addressing. The following is a list of questions you might want to ask your guest speaker or entertainer before you sign the contract:

- What is the duration of the performance? What are the chances that the presentation will be longer than expected? It's a good idea to build a buffer into your schedule, as sometimes entertainment acts and presentations can run longer than anticipated.

-What equipment will your entertainment be bringing with them? When will it arrive and how long will its set up take? How much space will they need for the equipment and how will that impact the set up of your tables and other equipment?

-What special requirements might they have for unloading this equipment? Will you need to provide them with dollies or man power assistance? If the hotel is unionized, that help could be mandatory and costly. Those funds would need to be budgeted accordingly.

-Will you be displaying your company name or logo on the stage at the time of the performance? Some celebrities will not agree to perform in such a situation, as it would imply an endorsement of a particular company or product.

-Will your entertainer or speaker require a dressing room? If so, how many and of what size?

-What meals and refreshments will the entertainer or speaker require? Will they be served in their dressing room or have a table with the guests? What other special needs or requests might they have?

-Is the entertainer or speaker and their equipment insured? Will you need to obtain additional coverage?

-Be sure to obtain the emergency contact numbers of the entertainers and their managers or agents? Include cell phone and home phone numbers in case some unforeseen circumstances arise on the day of your event. Remember that many entertainers work nights, so it might not be best to try to reach them first thing in the morning.

Remember that the success of your meeting or event depends mostly on the quality of your programs and the strength of their presenters. How your speaker or entertainer performs will ultimately determine whether you walk away with a litany of complaints and a tainted reputation, or a success story full of accolades and compliments. The decision of hiring entertainment and guest speakers should not be taken lightly.

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Ron Isaiah
Ron Isaiah

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