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Freddie (our cockerpoo) has been trained to "Speak!". He barks in response to a hand gesture and is rewarded with a treat.

When you are in charge of hiring speakers for your Rotary club, PMI Chapter meeting or Professional Development Day or monthly chapter meeting of your association, you want more than a presenter who can read PowerPoint slides in response to hand gestures. Having been around the block a few times (and with the grey hair to prove it) here is the criteria when assessing a speaker to bring to an audience.

1. Does the speaker have something to say that is relevant to this audience? You probably also have horror stories. I was in the audience where a fellow spoke at length about the importance of numbers. According to our speaker, multiple secret societies attach value to numbers and geometry. Many of us turned green with envy as the audience members sitting close to the exits escaped.

2. What is the speaker's experience level? Free speeches are often worth what you pay for them, although it is not always the case. A free speech might be appropriate for your audience, however, you want something of substance for $3,000.

3. If the event is a for-profit event, then is the speaker willing to share the risk and profit? For example, if your chapter meeting is looking to break-even and make a few dollars for the chapter, then is the speaker willing to help market the event and willing to get paid on the basis of headcount?

4. Does the speaker have a good track record, and testimonials from prior audiences. In my experience, when the speaker's marketing material says "Jane is an interactive and dynamic speaker" then Jane is probably boring her audiences to death. (On a side note, I observe that the longer a speaker's introduction is, the worse the speaker is.) University professors seem to be the worst presenters at conferences.

5. Do you have a personal referral. For example, when a trusted colleague tells me "I have seen Joe speak and he is very interactive and engaging" then I feel comfortable if Joe speaks to an audience.

I trust this helps you to assess speakers for your conferences, Rotary club or professional association chapter meetings.

Posted on 10/4/2011 by Wayne BothaCategories: Project Management Business Speaking Rotary


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