When it’s your role to choose the speakers for your next annual conference, company meeting, or special event, you wield significant power over its success. Choosing the “right” presenter can mean the difference between basking in the glory of a memorable event, or baring the brunt of criticism for selecting an inappropriate speaker!

Choose “one of your own” industry presenters when:

  • The information and the message to convey is highly clinical and industry specific.
  • The speaker needs academic knowledge, specific background or education, to understand the nuances of your industry’s history, politics and corporate culture.
  • The event budget is intensely restricted, and it’s too difficult to justify “outside help” when you have “passable” people in your own backyard.

Choose a Guest Speaker when:

  • The themes and messages to convey are broad and universal. All industries care about Leadership, Team Building, Attitude and Behaviour around Dealing with Change, Inter-Personal Communications, Conflict Resolution, Stress Management, etc. A fine quality guest speaker will research and customize their subject of expertise, to specifically address your industry’s needs.
  • You suspect the audience will perceive the message to be more valuable and inspirational if delivered by an “outsider”. When internal representatives address “touchy” messages, audiences may suspect hidden agendas, or wonder if the internal speaker has been “coached” by senior management. In such cases, a guest speaker is perceived as more objective. “Well if she says so…then it must be true!”.
  • Potential staff presenters openly admit they are not the best choice for the topic in question.

When choosing a guest speaker, consider these 9 tips:

  1. Identify your meeting’s theme.
  2. What kind of guest presentation will work best for your event?
  3. What type of speaker would work best for your needs?
  4. Make a list of the personality and character traits you’d like your speaker to demonstrate.
  5. Identify your speaker budget.
  6. Is your conference date etched in stone or is there flexibility?
  7. Word of mouth
  8. Do you have a pre-designed agreement for guest speaker bookings?
  9. Always insist on having the chance to talk directly with the speaker.

There are times when “one of your own” will do, but remember this well-known phrase, “It’s hard to be a prophet in your own house”.