The Biggest Blunders in Hiring a Motivational Speaker (and how you can avoid them!)

Hiring keynote speakers should not be regarded as ‘hit-or-miss’ kind of pursuit. In any event—conventions, lectures, or small group talks, the guest speaker is always expected to leave a lasting impression on the participants. After all, he’s there to enrich the minds and souls of the audience, which in turn would eventually benefit the entire organization.

There are times in which the expected end-result is not achieved. Having an excellent speaker, an audience that’s eager to listen, and a venue that is conducive to real learning – what could the missing piece of the puzzle be?

The answer lies in this fact – skills in speaking are NEVER ENOUGH.

The following are among the top blunders when hiring speakers:

1. Not being clear on the main goal. Your organization’s event may likely focus on a goal linked to improving sales, employment turnover, and the like. However, there are times that the specific goals are not well-defined by the organization’s representative. Motivational speakers, no matter how good they are, cannot just immediately pull an effective speech out of the magician’s hat. Nothing should be treated as ‘standard’. Orient the speaker well about what the organization wants to achieve at the end of the event.

Speakers2. Not involving the speaker in any stage of the planning phase. The speaker is not part of the organization. That’s clear. However, he should at least be included in one meeting during the planning stage so he can better share his creative input as well. This is exactly why inviting speakers at the last minute is never recommended. Doing so could possibly turn the event into a waste of time, money, and effort.

3. Not being able to choose the RIGHT speaker. Keynote speakers are not created equal – some are superb at entertaining, while others are unparalleled in facilitating. The kind of event, the time, and the type audience should all be perfect fit to the personality and the strengths of the speaker. Exerting extra effort in knowing different keynote speakers can help your organization avoid this blunder.

4. Not checking for references. Some organizations tend to invite speakers based on popularity. However, this does not guarantee the achievement of the expected result in the end. It will never hurt to check within your circle if a specific speaker delivers or not. Knowing the experience of other organizations can help you plan better.

5. Not having a follow-up strategy. The event may be finished but your work is not. Many organizations fail to include a post-event follow-up with the speaker. It is essential to know what the guest speaker thinks of the event. This could also give you a clearer picture of the real success of the event. Professional keynote speakers are often generous with their own feedback, and they normally take the initiative to let the organization know about it.

6. Not focusing on quality. Budget—of course, many organizations are particular with this subject. This sometimes sacrifices the real quality of the event. Finding a speaker that simply suits the budget is never a good idea unless you are not really after the result.

Preparing a checklist of your expectations and your own criteria for choosing a speaker based on the organization’s goals are fundamental steps in organizing a successful event. Thoroughly understanding the two sides of the event you’re going to hold – your organization’s and the speaker’s – will enable you to handpick the right speaker. Hiring keynote speakers also requires you to make smart decisions. In other words, it entails a great deal of analyses just like any other decisions made within the company.