The wrong speaker can be a disaster for your event.
They might even be a seasoned pro. But if you don’t ask the right questions, you risk having a bad fit.
We’re here to help you avoid that.
We know the talent on stage can make or break your event. That’s why at The Speaker Exchange Agency we work with you to select the best talent to fit your audience and your budget.
In this article we’ll look at 7 questions you can ask in your next speaker interview, or when working with a bureau, like Speaker Exchange.
Let’s jump in:
1. Tell me what you know about our industry
Your speaker has to connect with your audience and make some effort to adjust their message and references. Even if they don’t have experience with your industry, you should know if they are willing to do some research.
2. What will my audience walk away with?
Even comedians and jugglers have a message! You need to know what your audience will learn. Tip: at this point your speaker applicant will fall into “sales mode.” If you are confused or think the solutions they’re proposing are off-point, don’t be afraid to interrupt and ask them to tell you how that has helped other audiences.
3. Give me an example of how you involve an audience
Professional speakers, like Brian Biro, Mary Kelly and Paul Long are experts at getting audience involvement and reaching all types of learners. Ask your speaker what they have done in the past to make their presentation memorable.
4. When have you been a bad fit for an audience?
This question will make them pause! Most speakers don’t want to admit they have bombed in the past (at some point everyone has.) Ask them what they learned from that experience or what they do differently now.
5. Do you customize your presentations?
This relates to the first question – by knowing how they customize you can get a sense of the research they are willing to do and how you think your audience will connect with them.
6. Do you have any follow up information?
Some speakers have handouts, check lists, or cheat sheets they can provide for at the event. Some will even provide reminder notes that can be delivered as follow up for after the event. This is when you can ask about getting a welcome video to help promote your event and social media support.
7. Can you present on two topics?
Finally, it might be in your interest to have this speaker deliver a breakout session as well as their keynote, or to act as your MC. Depending on your agenda and your budget, getting a speaker to do double duty can be a big win for you.
Remember, for many speakers, having more time with your delegates and being able to “go deeper” in a breakout session is a bonus for them.
Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help you prepare for your next event: