How to Hire a Speaker


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A majority of my work as a consultant involves getting in front of potential audiences via speaking. My speaking engagements, which range from forty-five minutes to all day, vary according to the objectives of those purchasing my services. In other words, I have no canned speeches that I pull out, and I never give the same speech or presentation twice. However, this is not usually the case. In fact, most speakers today take the same speech content and deliver it repeatedly to different audiences. It is because of that propensity for regurgitation of past material that I believe most companies can benefit from the following guidelines to use when searching for your next speaker.

Print out these questions, and answer them prior to hiring any speaker. Not only will it help you hire the RIGHT speaker for your company needs, but it will make you look like a million bucks in your boss’ eyes!

1. What specifically do you hope to achieve through hiring this speaker? (Increased sales? Motivation? Decreased turnover? Higher fees in your sales staff?)

2. What is the potential speaker’s main area of expertise? (Sales, Marketing, Management, Leadership Development, etc)

3. Can this speaker provide references?

4. Does the potential speaking candidate listen to what you think are your company needs?

5. How engaging is the potential speaker? (If your initial conversation with them is as inspired as watching paint dry, move on. It’ll get worse in person)

6. What are their fees? (And remember that most of the time, you get what you pay for)

7. Do they provide a satisfaction guarantee? (Quality speakers want you to be completely satisfied with the results of your work together and won’t hesitate to guarantee your satisfaction as such)

These seven points will enable you to discern good potential speaking candidates from lousy ones. Your time, and your company’s time, is too valuable to waste. Put effort in initially and ask the tough questions. Your boss will thank you.

Copyright (2005) Leif H. Smith, Psy. D. All Rights Reserved.

Leif H. Smith, Psy. D, has worked with hundreds of executives to improve leadership and employee effectiveness. He presents annually on topics related to leadership development and improved personal effectiveness, and can be reached via his company website,


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