Planning an event can be a monumental task, with a lot of time, money, and effort invested in the outcome. One guaranteed way to boost the success of the event is to include good public speaking. The right speaker(s) can boost the credibility of the event, increase attendance numbers and ensure that the event is informative and valuable for attendees.
Why Engage a Speaker for the Event?
Having relevant presenter with recognized authority in the field brings instant credibility and value to the event in the eyes of potential attendees. Simply by virtue of having that person speak, the event will gain status as a credible event to attend.
Good public speakers will boost attendance not only from the attraction of their name and experience—they can also help actively promote the event. Ads for the event can be placed on the speakers’ websites or blogs. Also, the presenters themselves could write a blog post about the event, encouraging their audience to attend. The speakers’ social media presence can be yet another path to getting the word out about the event and increasing registration numbers.
Speakers carefully chosen for their expertise and communication skills will make the event informative and valuable enough for attendees to want to give up their time and money to attend.
The best professional speakers can be quite expensive, but some (such as those who are primarily business people rather than professional speakers) may be willing to speak at no charge because of the benefits they themselves will enjoy as a result of their effort. In these instances, a mutually beneficial relationship can be formed.
Types of Speakers to Consider and the Benefits of Each
Every event has a purpose—to entertain, to educate, to encourage, or to inspire to take action. Before engaging a speaker, consider the type and purpose of the event, as well as the desired outcome. Choose a speaker or presenters that the event’s audience will appreciate and who can contribute to the progress or achievement of the event goals. Here are some types of speakers to consider:
Recognized Experts in the Field are a key way to establish credibility and provide value in the event.
Authors with books on topics of interest for the group can be a big draw. Their books don’t necessarily have to relate directly to the work of attendees, although that’s a bonus. Helpful topics could also include time management, organization, project management, leadership and so forth.
Presenters with Innovative Ideas can lend some excitement to the gathering and truly educate attendees on the latest trends, ideas, and advancements in the field.
Celebrities / Comedians can be a fun, lighthearted break from intense information-gathering, and can really drum up excitement among attendees. A highly recognizable name can encourage sign ups from some who might not otherwise attend.
Motivational Speakers are a very popular choice. People love to be motivated and inspired by those who have overcome challenges or can effectively and entertainingly speak on universally valuable themes such as perseverance and personal growth. A good motivational speaker can make the event more meaningful for the audience, boost morale in the organization or inspire attendees toward a call to action related to the purpose of the event.
Leadership Speakers can be a wonderful choice for inspiring attendees to set goals, be open to change, take initiative or boost performance. (See Jeff Haden’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers.)
Why Should a Business Leader Want to Speak at an Event?
Most business leaders will recognize the benefits in store for them as a result of speaking at an event (if they are not being paid). However, a potentially valuable but reluctant individual might be nudged toward accepting this challenge if they become aware of a few key rewards:
- They will be seen as a Subject Matter Expert. Just by virtue of being at the podium, they will be seen as having valuable knowledge and expertise—an authority.
- They will increase their company’s visibility and boost their brand with one of their target audiences. All businesses want to get in front of the people who will be most likely to work with them or purchase from them. The audience at this event will be made up of very warm leads.
- They will boost their website’s SEO because they will be driving people to their website. Very few SEO building strategies can be done at no cost, but speaking at an event is one—and an effective one at that. Slide decks can include business URLs or links to promotional content specifically geared to the event, including social media pages. Moz.com has a well-written article about how to successfully incorporate these things into a talk and upload the presentation slides to a slide sharing platform where it becomes much easier to get the audience to share it on social media and drive more traffic.
Ensure the Success of Each Speaker
One of Guy Kawasaki’s great speaking tips is to ‘understand the audience.’ This means to understand what they know, what they’re interested in and what challenges they’re facing. To ensure the success of each speaker at the event, make sure they have access to information the audience cares about: industry information and trends, key issues and the purpose of the event as a whole.
Some Things to Look for When Hiring or Engaging a Speaker
Personal experience in observing the speaker is possibly the best guideline in choosing whether or not to invite them to speak. If that isn’t possible, look for references or recommendations from trusted sources. Good speakers should ask questions about the event, the audience and the goal of their speech. They should also ask about the technology available for the presentation and provide a sample or outline of what they will speak about.
Everyone benefits from effective public speaking at business events. Speakers earn more recognition for their authority and expertise, as well as an SEO boost. Attendees gain information and motivation from expert speakers they may not have been able to find anywhere else. Event planners enjoy their own website SEO boost as well as increased attendance and revenue from a very successful event.