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50 Critical Questions To Ask Before You Hire A Speaker - How To Choose The Perfect Speaker To Make Your Event A Success.    Do you know the ins and outs of hiring a professional speaker? Do you know the right questions to ask? How to determine if a particular speaker is a good fit with your meeting needs? This article serves as a handy speaker-interviewing checklist to help you get the perfect speaker for your next event.     1097 words.
The Mental Game Coach, Peak Performance Playbook

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50 Critical Questions To Ask
Before You Hire A Speaker

How To Choose The Perfect Speaker
To Make Your Event A Success

Bill Cole, MS, MA
Founder and CEO
William B. Cole Consultants
Silicon Valley, California

Are you looking for a celebrity to speak at your next meeting or event? Get ready to pay at least $25,000 plus expenses. That's the going rate for even a "basic" celebrity sports star, politician, media person, best-selling book author or entertainment personality. Top, famous names earn up to $75,000 a pop.

Maybe you want a professional speaker who will emotionally connect with your attendees, entertain them, give great content and leave them laughing? Are you looking for a proven platform professional who leaves their ego at the door so they can focus on the needs of the audience?

Perhaps you need an "expert who speaks"? This is a book author or researcher who is a recognized expert in their field, who also speaks. They might be a currently active facilitator, consultant, coach and writer who speaks about their experiences and how they can help your attendees.

Or maybe you just need a local public speaker who can do a reasonably solid job of giving a speech to your in-town meeting? This may be a nearby college professor who will speak for no fee or a low fee, and no travel or hotel costs.

Whatever your needs are, this checklist can help you find the right speaker for your event. A little research goes a long way when you are choosing a speaker. There are many levels of speakers in the marketplace, with credentials and capabilities that vary widely. Our goal here is to help you ask intelligent questions so you can find the perfect speaker to fit your exact needs for your specific event.

You will want to look at fees, expenses, logistics, topics, expertise, professionalism, technology use, learning tools and most important of all, the audience outcomes the speaker creates for you, your organization and your sponsors.

To use this checklist, compare and rate each speaker you are considering, using this template. Ask them questions and call references. Make sure the fit is a good one. Let's take a look at the many important factors you want to examine when you seek to hire a professional speaker.

Make a check in the box next to the item if you need to examine the question in more depth.

Critical Questions to Ask before Hiring a Speaker

Fees and Expenses
1. Is the speaker a professional speaker or someone who speaks for a fee on occasion? Both could be appropriate.
2. What fee level has this person arrived at in their speaking career?
3. Does the speaker's fee match their level of experience and abilities? Are they competitively priced in the market?
4. Does the speaker's fee match your budget?
5. Can you find funds for the speaker in your other budgets or in other creative ways?
6. Will the speaker accept trade-outs, or negotiate their fee in return for concessions?
7. Does the speaker fly coach or first class?
8. Are travel plans handled by the speaker's company?
9. Does the speaker require a deposit to hold a date?
10. Does the speaker work through a speakers bureau?
11. Do you pay any other moneys beyond the speaker's expenses and fee?

The Speaker's Level Of Expertise and Professionalism
1. Does the speaker adhere to a professional code of ethics?
2. Is the speaker a professional speaker or an expert who speaks?
3. Is the speaker a specialist or a generalist?
4. Is the speaker a recognized, authoritative expert or just someone who has a specific topic?
5. Is the speaker an academic lecturer or a professional speaker?
6. Does the speaker walk the talk? Do they practice what they preach by being a teacher, coach, consultant or facilitator, in their area of expertise, or do they just speak?
7. Is the speaker a celebrity speaker or an expert or a professional speaker?
8. Does the speaker deliver canned, routine performances, or do they create new experiences for your attendees?
9. Is the speaker a member of any professional associations in their field?
10. Does the speaker understand the speaking industry?
11. Does the speaker know how to professionally prepare for a speaking engagement?
12. Does the speaker provide a written guarantee?

The Speaker As Your Partner
1. How easy is the speaker to work with?
2. Does the speaker make the meeting planner look good?
3. Does the speaker make the executive team, organization, audience and sponsor look good?
4. Do the speaker's topic and area of expertise match what your audience wants?
5. Will the speaker customize their presentations for you?
6. Does the speaker conduct research to find out what your audience wants and needs?
7. How entertaining is the speaker?
8. How motivating is the speaker?
9. Does the speaker have handouts and learning materials available?
10. Does the speaker have books, tapes and other learning tools?
11. Can the speaker fill more than one spot on the program, saving you travel money and the cost of another speaker?
12. Will the speaker spend extra time with your people on site?
13. What do you want your attendees to be feeling, thinking and doing differently when they leave this speaker's program?
14. Does the speaker use modern educational styles such as facilitation, interactive activities and simulations to encourage feedback and interplay?
15. Does the speaker use the right and appropriate mixture of high tech tools?
16. Does the speaker manage the proper levels of content, entertainment and motivation?
17. If it is agreed that the speaker will sell learning tools from the platform, does the speaker do so tastefully and subtly?
18. Does the speaker offer attendee learning tools at a pre-program discount?
19. Does the speaker communicate your organization's message while on stage?
20. Does the speaker support your sponsors and mention them by name during the program?
21. Does the speaker use appropriate, clean humor?
22. Does the speaker have their ego under control, so they know they are working for the audience, not showing off?
23. How flexible is the speaker regarding last-minute emergencies and changes once on site?
24. What level of tech is the speaker? no tech? low tech? some tech? high tech?
25. Can the speaker create a positive relationship with your audience
26. Is the speaker audience-centered, with their best interests in mind?
27. What impact will this speaker have on your attendees long after the presentation is over?

What Are Your Next Steps?

The speaker you hire can make or break your meeting. Your attendees should leave the meeting with renewed vigor, new ideas, heightened motivation and having been challenged and entertained. Take your time and do your homework, and you CAN find that special speaker who will make you look good and have your attendees thanking you for being so smart.

To learn about speaking programs offered by Bill Cole, MS, MA, the Mental Game Coach™, see www.mentalgamecoach.com/Services/SpeakingAndTraining.html.

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Copyright © Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.

Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps organizations and professionals achieve more success in business, life and sports. He is also the Founder and President of the International Mental Game Coaching Association (www.mentalgamecoaching.com), an organization dedicated to advancing the research, development, professionalism and growth of mental game coaching worldwide. He is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments visit him at www.MentalGameCoach.com.

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How to choose the perfect speaker  
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