Planning a major event or fundraiser can be overwhelming. So many logistics come into play. What kind of food should you serve? Who is going to prepare and serve the food? How are you going to arrange seating? Is there going to be music? How do you promote your cause or motivate attendees? While a lot of factors can determine whether an event will be a success or not, one should stand out in your mind more than all of the others. Who are you going to have as a guest speaker?
If attendees feel motivated or entertained by a guest speaker, then most will overlook mediocre food, seating that wasn’t optimal, or a variety of other logistics that didn’t go as planned. In fact, a speaker that has known credibility will draw people to your event that otherwise would not have come. Even though numerous factors need to be considered, don’t underestimate the importance of picking the right speaker.
A few factors should go into choosing the correct speaker. The first factor is understanding who the intended audience is. A group consisting of numerous football fans probably don’t want to hear a speech from a professional golfer. In fact, for that group perhaps you should research Drew Brees or Brett Favre speaking fee and booking agent contact. A group of college professors in a certain field might enjoy a guest lecture from a professor who is a noted expert. Another group may be looking to be entertained more than inspired and prefer a comedian or a magician.
Another factor is the purpose of the event. If the goal is to raise awareness about an issue, then be careful about focusing too much on entertaining the group. While they might laugh a lot of be amazed if the message is lost then the event will not be a success. Some events exist to provide training or motivation. A speaker that you consider should have a track record of being able to do so. It is also worth noting that just because someone is famous or very good in a certain field does not mean that they are a very good speaker. Make sure to view clips from that speaker’s previous engagements or request references.
A third factor is cost. The price of speakers varies and if you are not careful can consume the majority of the budget for an event. Some speakers are worth spending large sums of money to have for an event but other times someone who is just as engaging but not as expensive can fit the bill. It may be worthwhile to speak with some agencies who have a large number of speakers as clients. Once they understand the nature of your event, the size of the audience, the budget, and the target they can give you some different options on who to book. It is easy to add “find a speaker” to the checklist for an event. However, it can be a grave mistake to overlook how that one item can make or break an event.