Mistakes in Selecting a Speaker

I have had the opportunity to witness numerous speakers present their passion. I am often left with more questions and concerns than feeling informed or empowered. Below are some of the more common mistakes made when identifying and selecting a speaker to address your audience.

  1. RIGHT SPEAKER, RIGHT PAY. – The best speaker for you will not always be the most expensive/well known speaker. Ask yourself “what is the expectation/needs of my audience?” Focus on the experience of the speaker rather than cost. More isn’t always better!
  2. DON’T TALK ABOUT IT, BE ABOUT IT! – Be careful not to select someone who does not have personal experience in the topic being discussed. Reading a few books or articles does not make someone qualified to present on the topic. The market is inundated with “motivational speakers” who lack the personal experiences and insights to adequately connect with an audience.
  3. HIRING AN EGOCENTRIC SPEAKER. – You can recognize egocentric speakers by their need to squeeze their story in, regardless of whether it will help you achieve the objectives of the event. A good keynote speaker thinks of the people in the audience first and leaves a lasting, positive impression on them. Audience-centeredness is key!
  4. JEANS AND SNEAKERS WON’T CUT IT. – Speakers who promote wearing jeans and t-shirts as the new norm in the professional world send the wrong message. Extensive research (Inc., Business Insider, Forbes, etc.) shows professional clothing boosts confidence, self-empowerment, increases abstract thinking, and feelings of competence and intelligence.
  5. GREAT SPEECH- NOW WHAT? – Speakers often do a great job delivering a message and the audience is hooked and ready to change their lives. But how? If there is no practical, applicable plan of action following a presentation then it was all a waste and the audience will seek answers from the next speaker or source.