When retaining speakers to present at their conference or convention, meeting planners must tread very carefully. Picking the wrong speaker for an event can have disastrous consequences. If it’s a day-long event and five speakers are scheduled to present, if even one of them says something inappropriate, it can dominate the event in ways that no one would prefer to have happened. Worse, the off-remark might call into question your judgment.
It behooves speakers to rely upon veterans, those who have presented to dozens, if not hundreds of groups. Speakers who know the ropes and know what it takes to deliver with impact, are highly professional at all times. They go on their way to ensure that the meeting planner feels comfortable and confident that their presentation will be well-received.
Beyond the above, here are four factors that add up to success for both the meeting planner and the speaker:
Having a timely topic
The reason that a particular speaker is brought in at a certain time is because of the speaker’s wisdom, knowledge, and information that will benefit the group.
Even if a speaker is a humorist, or someone who is simply hired to entertain the audience, that speaker is still bringing with them knowledge and information, in the form of how they’re going to deliver, how they will pace themselves, understanding of the audience, and so forth.
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Offering a dynamic presentation
No one, meeting planners most of all, wants to have a speaker who delivers an off-the-shelf presentation, something the speaker said to the last group, and the group before that, etc. Sure, a speaker will draw upon an established body of material but it has to be, at the least, tailored to the group.
What challenges do audience members face? What has happened recently? What will be of concern after this meeting is over? The dynamic speaker takes into account such factors and delivers accordingly.
Interacting with the audience
Increasingly, meeting planners seek presenters who have an affinity for the audience. They’re not afraid of give-and-take. They might even step down from the stage and wander a bit throughout the hall. They encourage participation. They ask questions, pose dilemmas, and elicit responses.
Not all presentations, for all purposes, lend themselves to interaction with the audience. For those that do, however, interaction can be a notable, even memorable factor for audience members, who have sat in front of one staid delivery after another.
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All meetings have an agenda, whether tight or loose, written down, or verbally offered. At some point, a meeting must end, just as an individual presentation must end. Speakers who stay on time, even if their time has been chopped, and end at the original designated ending time, do everyone a favor: Get the meeting back on course!
The seasoned speaker, on the fly, knows how to convert what was scheduled to be a 45-minute presentation into what now has to be a 32-minute presentation, and has the ability to do so without the audience knowing the difference. This speaker doesn’t complain or wince, and he or she stands up and delivers and ends on the button, having done the job.