We have all had them – great, mediocre and just down right lousy speakers. The great ones resonate with the audience; they either make them laugh, cry or think. The lousy ones are all about their message and could be talking to a wall for all they care. You want the great ones, but how do you know if someone is going to make the mark with your attendees?
Here are six things you can do to make sure you hire the right talent:
Book a storyteller.
If possible, go see your speaker live before you sign on the dotted line. Do they tell a gripping story that pulls the audience in, all the while getting their message across? This is the year of storytelling and if they aren't good at it, don't hire them.
Make sure they are entertaining.
You don't have to hire a jokester, but this person should at a minimum, make your audience members smile and laugh during some part of their talk. Their sense of humor should be natural and part of who they are – not an act.
Timing is everything.
If you are hiring someone for a 45-minute presentation, make certain they don't go over their time. At TED, as soon as the speaker starts talking they have a large red timer on stage (that only the speaker can see) that does a countdown. In fact, the more compact their message all the better. It gives the audience time ask a lot of questions and make comments.
Attendee engagement is key.
Does the presenter give time in their talk for attendees to learn from each other? The speakers that are most sought after, throw up a question on the PowerPoint presentation equipment and let the audience members talk among themselves about possible answers to that question. You want to observe how the speaker pulls the audience in and if that methodology is effective.
Message + Speaker = Relevance to Attendees
Can the meeting participants take that message home and immediately apply it to their work? If not, don't hire that speaker! I remember about two years ago, I sat in a presentation where the speaker was trying to use an analogy of how herding horses was like herding attendees. He showed these beautiful photos of the horses on his farm, but at the end of the day there was absolutely nothing I could take home and implement in my business.
Help your speaker be successful.
I personally love the TED approach to speaker selection. Not only do they go out and visit potential speakers, but once selected, the TED team helps the speaker cultivate their message to ensure they will be successful. How cool is that? Do you do that for your speakers? Odds are you too busy attending to other meeting logistics or think the speaker will be offended. But the truth of the matter is you both have a vested interest to make each other successful. I think this is why TED sells out consistently year-after-year; because attendees know those speakers are going to be great.
SmartSource Rentals has a wide array of presentation services audiovisual equipment that can enhance any presenter's talk! Give them a call at 800.888.8686 to learn more about their interactive technology tool rentals!