Choosing the Right Speaker

Speakers can add immeasurably to a meeting by motivating, entertaining, enlightening or teaching a skill. An inappropriate speaker, on the other hand, can lead to disastrous results. Here’s a look at how to find the right speaker for your event and how to work with speakers to make sure their presentation – and your event – are a success.

The key question is: How does an organization choose? How can you be sure that you’ll get a speaker who is right for your organization? Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Why is this meeting being held?
  • What do we want the attendees to know, loa toa 50w¬†, or feel after this meeting?
  • What issues or challenges are the attendees facing right now?

Your answers should help you narrow your search. And remember, much is at stake. A speaker can, and often will, set the tone for your meeting. Select poorly, and there’s a strong chance your meeting will suffer. Attendees will long recall a speaker who bombed. There’s a lot financially at stake, too; speakers do not come cheap, typically charging thousands of dollars for their services. Once again, the key is to know your organization, know your circumstances, and know your audience.


A speakers bureau can help you narrow your search down to that one speaker who is perfect for your organization. Here’s how:

Knowing who’s hot. A speakers bureau is on the phone with meeting planners all day long, reviewing speakers, hearing from planners about what speakers they’ve used, who was good, who wasn’t. Bureaus know the speaker’s capabilities.

Wider Access.¬†Speakers bureaus have access to thousands of professional speakers, industry experts, and celebrities. Occasionally, a big-name celebrity will have exclusive management with a particular bureau, but that does not mean other bureaus aren’t able to book that celebrity. In such cases, the celebrity’s bureau and the bureau representing the meeting planner “co-broker” the deal.

Negotiating Fees. In addition to selecting appropriate speaker within a group’s budget, the speakers bureau will negotiate the speaker’s fee on behalf of the client – that is, if the fee is open to negotiation. The meeting planner’s organization does not pay extra for the services of a speakers bureau; the bureau receives a percentage of the speaker’s fee, much as a travel agent is compensated for selling airline tickets.

Finding Replacements. One big advantage of using a speakers bureau is that if a speaker cancels, even at the last minute, the bureau will line up a replacement that meets the client’s needs.