Here is number five in our series of articles about “Top Mistakes People Make When Hiring a Speaker”

Professional Speaker or Celebrity Speaker?


Selected Posts from Brad’s Past

We found a few posts, videos and stories from Brad’s past, and thought it would be fun to re-publish them here.  So pour yourself a cup of coffee, put on some classic rock, and check out this classic blog post from a decade (ish) ago.  


Don’t Hire a Celebrity Speaker Unless You’re Ready to Take a Risk.

Very commonly, especially with my association clients, meeting planners love to hire celebrity speakers.  And I admit, there are a couple of very attractive reasons to hire celebrity speakers.  The main reason is to get people to attend the conference.  If you have a big celebrity headlining your keynote, people might be more inclined to attend the conference, which admittedly, is important.

But having said that, my experience, not ever having hired a speaker, but with working with hundreds or thousands of meeting planners who have worked with speakers both professional and celebrity, is that celebrity speakers tend not to deliver.  And if you think about it, this makes sense.  Celebrities are famous for doing something besides speaking.  They are football coaches, they are actors, they are movie stars, they are Olympic gold medalists.  They are not speakers.  And because their business does not depend on them delivering an outstanding keynote, experience tells me that more times than not, they don’t deliver an outstanding speech.

One meeting planner confided to a professional speaker pal of mine, that he hires a celebrity speaker to bring people to the conference and then he hires professional motivational speakers to actually deliver the goods.  Well, this is all fine and good, if you have the budget for both:  an overpriced celebrity speaker, and a top shelf professional speaker.

Hire a Professional Speaker to get your message across

But I suspect at the end of the day, if you think long term, even if you have that extra budget, you’re better off investing in professional speakers.  Why?  Two reasons; first, professional speakers deliver.  If you hire the right person, if you hire the person with experience who has a message that you feel will resonate with your organization or your audience, your professional speaker is paid to deliver.  And that means, not just deliver a speech, but to deliver excellence, to deliver lasting behavior change, and to deliver an experience that your people will remember and talk about long after that conference is over.

The second reason is,  if you think long term,  professional speakers are a better investment than celebrity speakers.  Professional speakers, if they’re any good, will make a huge impact on your audience and that audience, when they are considering whether or not to attend the following year’s conference or convention, will remember the power of that professional speaker much more favorably than they will remember the fact that there was a mediocre, disappointing, but famous speaker, at the conference.

In other words, if you hire a pro speaker, you’re thinking long term and you’re thinking wisely.  You’re realizing that a professional speaker will make a greater impact on your conference than your celebrity speaker.  Hire a professional speaker and you won’t be sorry.  The celebrities are great, but all you need is the autograph and then you can move on.

Are you looking for a professional speaker and don’t need a celebrity?  Hire me! I’d love to be your guy.

Brad Montgomery
Professional Speaker, Fan of Celebrities, Not a Celebrity Speaker

related articles:
Is your speaker relevant to your audience?
YouTube testimonials from Real Clients

We now present number 4 in our series of articles about:

Top Mistakes People Make When Hiring a Motivational Speaker

Hire a motivational speaker who knows what they’re doing.  And by that, I mean somebody who has done it so much that every conceivable combination of disasters has already happened before they hit your event.

The reason you want an experienced speaker is in case something goes wrong.  In case your audience is tired.  In case your audience is difficult.  In case something happens before, during or after your meeting.  In case the weather is bad.  In case the speaker doesn’t feel well.  These are all things that could completely throw off an entry level speaker.  In other words, make sure your person has done this a thousand times before.  The main reason for hiring a speaker who does not have sufficient experience is to save money.

Selected Posts from Brad’s Past

We found a few posts, videos and stories from Brad’s past, and thought it would be fun to re-publish them here.  So pour yourself a cup of coffee, put on some classic rock, and check out this classic blog post from a decade (ish) ago.  


Make Sure Your Speaker Has a LOT of Experience

Not Hiring Somebody With Sufficient Experience?

But as I’ve discussed in other articles in this series, the savings made by hiring an inexperienced speaker is not worth the increased risk of failure.  Now granted, inexperienced speakers often will do great.  They can hit a home run even.  They could do fabulous.  But in my experience, having been an inexperienced speaker, is that it is hit and miss.  If you are a client who is planning an event and are willing to take a chance on a miss, well then by all means, save those few bucks and book an entry level speaker.  But if your organization, your meeting, the changes you’re trying to create for your group require a hit, then you need experience.


I’ve got tons of experience.  Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.  I’ve had important people die hours before my keynote speech.  I’ve had the electricity go off three times during my speech.  I’ve had microphone failures.  I’ve had the CEO literally crying into the microphone as he introduced me because of an upsetting bit of news.  I spoke to an audience during the 9/11 disaster as the news was being unfolded.


Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong and the result is that now, no matter what happens, I’m ready because it’s happened before.  There’s nothing that can surprise me and that means that my level of comfort with having anything happen is very high, which translates to the comfort level of my clients being equally high that no matter what happens, we’re going to be fine.


Are you looking for a motivational speaker and want somebody who has sufficient experience?  I’d love to be your guy.  Contact us at

Brad Montgomery, Experienced (i.e., nothing can surprise me) Motivational Speaker


Related articles:

Second in the series about tips for hiring motivational speakers
Third in the series about tips for hiring motivational speakers
Meeting Planners Have a Lot at Risk

As a motivational speaker one of the most requested marketing tools is our preview videos. Well…. wait for it….here is our newest version of the preview.

It was filmed live over 4 or more keynotes and we think it’s pretty spiffy. What do you think? Leave a comment and let us know.

Looking for a motivational speaker for your event? Contact me here.


Brad Montgomery
Motivational Speaker, Business Speaker, Owner of a New Video

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