Three Questions To Ask Your Motivational Speaker (Before You Book One!)
When our office phone rings, plenty of times it’s a seasoned meeting planner inquiring about the possibility of engaging me. But often it’s somebody very new to the convention and meeting planning world who got tasked to hire the motivational speaker. If you’re in that second category, here are three questions you should cover to help you have a better gauge as to whether this person is THE person.*
1. Tell me about your track record.
You want your speaker to be a guaranteed success, and the best way to do that is to make sure your speaker has worked out the details several hundred audiences ago. Ask about when they got started, how many clients they work for a year. Where can you see a complete list of their clients? And how much have they worked for audiences in YOUR industry?
Clearly, you want a motivational speaker with TONS of experience. Make sure you get one.
2. How Do You Keep the Audience Engaged?
Not just listening. Engaged. Not checking their smart phones while they listen. Not reading the newspaper or the convention program. I’m talking ENGAGED.
I use humor — laugh-out-loud comedy — to ensure my audiences are listening to my business messages. I use audience participation, game-show segments, and mini-aciivites to change the pace and keep the learning on “fast.”
I could spend a few hours talking about this concept. Because I know that if we create an “experience” for your people and not just deliver a keynote they will be more engaged.
If we make it fun, they’ll learn more. If they laugh, they’ll learn even more. But most of all, if we do those things WHILE making it relevant the message will stick — making it engaging helps with retention.
If the speaker you are interviewing doesn’t have a long, detailed action plan for this question that makes sense and appeals to you, send up the red flag.
3. Will your message be relevant, valuable and helpful for my audience?
Oh, that’s a good one! Answer: customization.
My programs are pretty general. But your audience is VERY specific. How can we make sure that they fit? Easy…. ask.
Because I’ve done this job so long I have a big bag of tricks to make sure that what what I deliver is on target to my audience. And because my audiences change with each client, that means that I have to customize both my message and my delivery with every client.
I’ve turned down jobs before because I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to “fit” a given audience. I know if I can do it. And the speakers you are interviewing know it too.
Ask them. Listen to their level of confidence. Listen to their experience. And ask them about what “customizing” means to them. (Some speakers will drop in the name of the organization 4 times during an hour speech and call that customization. If you want more than that — and you should — you need to ask some very pointed questions about how your motivational speaker will customize their program to fit your needs, your goals, your desired outcomes and especially your audience.
I’d love to be on your team and would love to be of service for your meeting or convention. Are you ready to ask ME these questions (and a few of your own?) Contact me here.
Motivational Speaker, Funny Keynote Speaker, Astronaut**
* The secret fourth question should be, “What else should I ask you to help me decide on which motivational speaker to book?” If your speaker can’t go on….and on and on and on….with this question, you’ve found another hint.
** Ok, I’m not an astronaut. You caught me.
It’s also a good idea to note that a Speaker Bureau will assist in choosing and vetting the right speaker for an event.
Thanks Rebecca. Yeah, I think that some bureaus offer value. But to be honest, there are at least as many crappy bureaus as there are crappy speakers.
I work with a few select bureaus, and some of them can be terrific. But all of my warnings about searching to find a good speaker — and avoid a lousy one — go double for bureaus.
Thanks for the great comment.