Using a professional speaker to drive home a message can be very effective. It can also be a hefty investment. Be sure you get the most out of your event by following these tips.
1. Use Pre-Event Publicity to Build Interest in Your Speaker:
- Put up posters at work to announce the upcoming speaker and the topic.
- Send out a memo describing the speaker’s background and credentials.
- Circulate a cassette by the speaker to “tease” interested parties.
- Encourage your staff to visit the speaker’s World Wide Web site.
2. Fully Inform Your Speaker about Your Business:
- Provide information for the speaker to study well in advance: annual reports, internal newsletters, market and media reports, etc.
- Answer the speaker’s “Pre-Event Questionnaire” as completely as possible.
3. Put Your Speaker In Touch with People Inside Your Business:
- Be sure your speaker gets sufficient contact with management and staff prior to the event. Telephone conversations are a good start. Face to face meetings are even better.
4. Put Your Speaker in Touch with Your Customers:
- Encourage contact between your speaker and your customers. Let your customers know in advance that your speaker will be calling to gather their ideas and suggestions.
5. Be Candid with Your Speaker about Your Competition:
- Let your speaker know what’s really going on inside your industry. Be sure he understands your competitive advantage, and the actions being taken by others.
6. Review and Use a Speaker’s Introduction:
- Your speaker should provide you with a “Speaker’s Introduction” in advance of the actual event. Customize this to link closely with current business issues.
- Be sure the person who introduces your speaker is well prepared and enthusiastic. The introduction actually starts the speech!
7. Reinforce the Message with Take-Home Handouts:
- Help people remember and apply key points with an attractive take-home handout. Handouts can be as extensive as a full-course, customized notebook, or as simple as a laminated, wallet-sized card.
8. Arrange for Audio and Videotaping of Your Speaker:
- If your speaker is properly prepared and effective in delivering the message, the cost of professional audio and videotaping can be a very wise investment.
9. Improve Room Set-Up with Your Speaker’s Input:
- Be sure your speaker has access to the room prior to his presentation. Professional speakers have vast experience with room layouts, acoustics, lighting, etc.
- Try to make the changes your speaker may suggest. Small improvements can sometimes make a very big difference.
10. Allow Time for Questions & Answers…and Be Sure You Get Good Questions:
- When the schedule allows, a Q&A session lets your audience get deeper into the topic, and the speaker.
- Get good questions by letting your audience know in advance that a Q&A session will follow the normal presentation. You may allow a few minutes for discussion amongst audience members before taking the first question. If necessary, make sure one or two participants will help “get the ball rolling”.
- Provide microphones for your audience to ask questions. Your speaker should clearly repeat each question for everyone to hear.
Copyright, Ron Kaufman (). All rights reserved. Ron Kaufman is an internationally acclaimed innovator and motivator for partnerships and quality service. He is the author of the best- selling book, “UP Your Service!” and the free monthly newsletter, “The Best of Active Learning!” For more information and free copy of the newsletter, visit