Jacqui Frost

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner

10 tips for finding an after dinner speaker ...

Posted on: 30/09/2013   By: Jacqui Frost

Finding the right speaker is a crucial part of any event. If you find the perfect one then your event will be remembered for all the right reasons. But the wrong speaker can ruin an otherwise perfect event ...

when your guests sit down to a perfect dessert, have you got the perfect speaker for them?

when your guests sit down to a perfect dessert, have you got the perfect speaker for them?

Running an event is stressful: - setting the date, inviting people, getting people to commit to coming, chasing payment for tickets, organising the venue, arranging the perfect food, but the most stressful part can be organising the after dinner speaker. Every event is individual, held for its own reasons and with a goal to be achieved. So how do you find the right speaker?

To help you avoid the pitfalls here is our list of things to consider

  1. Audience: - knowing who is likely to be coming to the event and what they will appreciate is helpful when it comes to selecting your speaker. Think about their age, seniority within the company as well as geographic location.
  2. Who decides: - Often the budget will decide, particularly if the speaker is to be included in the entire events budget. But you need to discuss whether the client wants the final decision or whether they are happy to let you choose.
  3. Speaker Type: - Are you looking for an inspiring after dinner speaker or a stand-up comedian performing on stage?
  4. Recommendations: - It's always good to find out who is currently on the local circuit so ask around and find out who has spoken at other events recently. A good recommendation is always better than working with the unknown.
  5. Shortlist: - Always compile a shortlist from your recommendations and remember your brief and audience in your considerations when making the final decision.
  6. Experience: - Some delegates will expect an experienced speaker giving industry specific insights, others will be happy with a broad overview. But do remember you will be paying for any time spent researching and preparing a customised presentation.
  7. Contracts: - You should always confirm all of the details in writing including travel and accommodation arrangements (and who is paying).
  8. Expectations:- The best way to manage expectations all round is to define the brief from the client and pass this onto the speaker. And don't forget to share information with speaker about the delegates and the current situation so they can be sensitive to any issues.
  9. Venue: - Keep your speaker informed of what to expect. When laying out the room consider where your speaker will stand, what equipment they might need and how much movement you will be allowing them. Some speakers move about quite a lot and others are happy stood behind the top table.
  10. Follow up: - Knowing whether your speaker was the right one for the event is crucial. It will help you gauge the success of this particular event, but also help you to make informed decisions for the future. The best way to find that out is to ask the delegates who were there!

I think we've all been to events that have had such brilliant speakers we've tried to repeat the material to friends and family afterwards, and equally we've probably all been to events where we've managed to snooze through the after dinner speaker. Getting it right is not difficult, but it does take time and effort.

If you want help with the planning of your event then you can call us on +44 (0) 845 901 1803 where we have a team of professional PA's just waiting to help you.

Until next time ...


PS ... Remember to treat your speaker like a VIP making sure they have everything they need. We recommend showing them around and not leaving them to queue with the delegates to get in!!

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