For conferences, trade shows, and other events in which you wish to retain the services of a business speaker, chances are you'll find a wide assortment of speakers to choose from. Choosing one or some of the best can be daunting, but thankfully, there are several hints you can look for that will clue you in as to whether the conference speaker is worth your time and money.
While it is typically true that each conference speaker has a different story to tell, many of the hints that you will be seeking for are true about every good speaker, and so it is worthwhile to take the time to properly research each speaker you are considering and look for the hints as described below. They will guide you in choosing the best speakers possible for any events you may be holding, which will in turn increase your ROI and help you to gain new potential clients and customers.
1. Good Speakers Usually Get Paid
Although many businesses seek to find inexpensive conference speakers, or even speakers that will attend a conference and speak for free, chances are you will be doing your company and those attending the conference a disservice. Let's be honest—good speakers get paid, and they deserve to get paid. Speakers who get paid typically take the time and effort to put thought and research into what they are going to say and how the audience might respond. A speaker offering services for free usually will not provide the same level of service.
2. Good Conference Speakers Are Active on Social Media
A good speaker should know how to use social media to their advantage in order to build a solid, healthy audience online as well as at conferences. When researching conference speakers, look not just to see how active they are on social media platforms, but also how their audience responds to them, and whether or not the topics they post or discussions they start are interesting and informative. It is also important to recognize that good speakers will also make mention of the various events they will speak at—this is a sign of support for those who have hired them to speak.
3. Good Speakers Will Utilize Technology to Improve Interaction With the Audience
Some time ago, it was okay for a conference speaker to simply speak, and provide nothing else to improve audience mood and expand upon the interaction. But today's audience is used to interactivity through technology, and they demand the same from conference speakers. Speakers will use video screens, slideshows, music, and other types of technology to add emphasis to their lectures and elicit more of a response from their audience.
4. They Will Want to Know About Your Audience
A good speaker won't just show up at your event and begin to speak. They'll want to know exactly what type of audience will be attending so that they can prepare how best to speak with and engage the audience. A good lecture should be specially tailored to the audience, not just regurgitated over and over again at each and every conference. If the speaker asks you about your audience, as well as what you expect the audiences to learn from his lecture, chances are you’ve got a speaker who cares about giving a good performance.
5. Good Speakers Want to Know What the Audience is Thinking
In keeping with the above concept of learning about the audience before the event, a good speaker will also ask the audience questions about their performance. Attendees today want an interactive experience, and will appreciate being asked questions as well as having the opportunity to ask questions of their own during and after the lecture. This will really help the speaker better engage the audience and vice-versa, which always improves the chances of an event being a great success.
6. Visual Aid Materials are Well Designed and Clear for the Audience
Having visual aids in conjunction with a conference speaker won’t serve the speaker well if they aren’t professional looking and easy for the audience to view and interpret. Gone are the days when a few bullet points on a slide would suffice. Today, a speaker must have visual aids that deliver punch and wow factor. A speaker doesn't necessarily have to design the slides or other visual aids themselves, but they should at least have them professionally designed in order to better illustrate their professionalism and commitment to the material.
7. Content is Provided both in the Conference Hall and Online
Each conference speaker has a different story to tell, and when an audience learns who will be speaking at a conference, they will likely seek out more information about the speaker online. Once they come across the speaker's social media profiles, it would be helpful for them to see meaningful content related to the event they will be attending and the topics of conversation the speaker will provide. The buildup of posts before the event will also serve to create buzz and excitement about your event, and lend more weight to the speaker’s words.
Now that you know some of what to look for when researching conference speakers, you'll be able to make a much more informed decision and really provide your audience with a great experience. Remember not just to research potential speakers online—take the time to contact them and speak with them personally, so that you can ask important questions and gain valuable insight into how your speaker will really engage the audience.