Below are 5 questions that you can ask the speaker that will help determine whether this person is going to be dynamic or a dud.
- How many presentations have you given in the last 12 months?
Speaking is a skill and the more someone does it, the better they are. In addition, get a listing of the topics they have spoken on in the last year. See if they have a video and view it. How interactive are they with the audience? Do you think they are interesting, boring, or nervous?
- What associations or companies have invited you to come back to speak?
It speaks volumes when a speaker has spoken at the same organization for multiple years. A quality speaker is a professional off-stage as well as on. They have developed a rapport with their attendees and it shows. Ask for references, call them, and make sure to ask about the speaker on your LinkedIn groups as well. Try and view the audience feedback forms on the speaker as well.
- How knowledgeable are you on this topic? How flexible are you with your presentation?
Ideally, you want someone who is a subject matter expert but can "go with the flow" of the audience. Can your speaker drop his or her canned pitch and go where the audience members are? Find out what your attendees are looking for by establishing online communities about topic development. Then, once in the presentation, ask the speaker to work in attendee needs through wireless audience response systems and placing wireless mics throughout the room. In addition, audience response rentals can survey attendees immediately after the speaker is off stage.
- How long will you be present before and after your talk?
- What type of presentation services audio visual equipment do you need?
Send the presenter a detailed checklist of all equipment they will require. If they are bringing their own laptop, make certain they are onsite 2 to 3 hours early to ensure the AV Technician can test the equipment for compatibilty with the LCD projector. Put everything in writing and send back to the speaker for clarification and have them sign the agreement. Event planners spend a lot of unexpected budget monies when the speaker arrives on site and they change the AV configuration. Don’t let that be you!