How to Pick the Right Motivational Speaker

31 March 2016

From Christmas parties and annual conferences to awards dinners and charity balls, a passionate, engaging speaker can be a game-changer. A good keynote speaker can make the evening; a great one can add value to your event that keeps delivering long after the last straggler has made it back to the hotel. That means greater ROI, justified event budget and measurable performance lift that makes getting the sign off next time that bit easier. Great speakers can hold rooms, start vital conversations, provoke emotional responses and reignite a team’s hunger for results—so it's no surprise that choosing a speaker is such a pivotal part of planning your event.

There are a lot of motivational speakers out there. That makes finding one easy, but finding the right one very, very difficult... unless you know where to start. Our unrivalled experience, imagination andinsightmeans that we know exactly where to start, how to thin the herd, and how to find a speaker that perfectly suits your audience, event and budget. Read on for our top tips on how to pick the right motivational speaker.

Start with your Audience & Business Objectives

Your audience and your business objectives are the fundamental steers for choosing a speaker. To understand what real value from a speaker will look like to you, you first need to understand who is attending your event, why they are attending, and what key objectives the event is built around. An awards evening celebrating thesuccessoftop performing salespeople will require a very different speaker to an annual conference that falls a month before significant restructuring, for example. Equally, while an annual conference is strategically vital, a more celebratory Christmas party may allow for a lighter, more humorous speaker. Every time, the foundation of your choice has to be who is going to hear the speaker, and why they are there.

Your Corporate Culture

Once you've narrowed the field to suit your audience and objectives, you need to find speakers that are a good fit for your organisation. If you get it right, the speaker will be the resounding success—and the overriding memory—of your event for attendees, so they need to be on board with your company's tone, style and messaging. Experienced speakers are generally adaptable when it comes to content and tone, and you should be able to talk to them about your precise requirements and expectations.

Their Industry Expertise & Style

There's no 'one-size-fits-all' answer when it comes to choosing a speaker, since your priorities, audience and budget will all influence your choice. Most of the best motivational speakers will be able to shape their content and delivery around your event, but generally speakers fall into one of three categories:

1. The Industry Expert: They may not primarily be entertainers, but they know their stuff—and your industry—inside out. They're professionals first and speakers second, so their insight and messaging will be second to none, even if they don’t get your people dancing in the aisles.

2. The Showman: The hardest hitting motivational speakers often balance inspirational stories and motivational insight with a humorous and engaging delivery style. Although they may lack the industry-specific insight that some events require, these guys can really light a fire under a sales force, help reposition leadership and steer change management... all while keeping the room laughing.

3. The Celebrity: Celebrity speakers can generate real buzz, incentivise event attendance and related performance, and provide your teams with an experience—and a story—they’ll never forget. There’s always a ‘but’, though, and here it’s that fame doesn’t necessarily have any correlation with ability. Some celebrities are great, engaging speakers... but many aren’t, and a lack of industry-specific knowledge is almost guaranteed.

Your Budget

Moneytalks, and budget is perhaps the single most important factor when it comes to planning any aspect of an event. In an ideal world finance and procurement wouldn't have a say in your speaker, but in thisone youneed sign off. Budgets are finite, closely guarded and more directly tied to ROI than ever, so remember that the key isn't finding the cheapest speaker you can—it’s finding the one who represents the best value to your organisation. High fees don’t always mean ahigh quality product, so look for testimonials, find videos of past live events, and take word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and colleagues. ROI, not initial outlay, is the ultimate metric here, so ensure that you are set up to measure and report the value your speaker delivers.

An experienced, insightful partner with real buying power and a fundamental understanding of your event can be the key to securing the right speaker, the right venue and much, much more. We always have an ear to the ground in the world of motivational and keynote speakers, and we'd love to share our expertise, imagination and knowledge to help you deliver an event with real wow-factor. Get in touch now through our contact page, we'd love to talk.