Find the right expert for your next event
When you need to bring in a speaker for your company or association event, you have two choices on the kind of presenter to hire: An expert who speaks or an expert speaker. While those two terms may seem similar, there’s actually a big difference.
An expert who speaks has real-life experience in relation to their topic. Because of this insider knowledge, they can confidently say, “I’ve done this and I’ll show you how to do it too.” In contrast, an expert speaker may have done research on their topic and may have a lot of book smarts, but they can’t offer a personal perspective. Even though the expert speaker is knowledgeable and perhaps eloquent, their main focus is “I’ve read about this.”
In most cases, hiring an expert who speaks is preferable to hiring an expert speaker because an expert who speaks will add power and focus to the event as they share their real-life experiences and compelling content. Additionally, because they’re so personally involved in their topic, they often stay-up-to-date on the current research, which means your attendees will get the best advice possible.
Since hiring the wrong speaker can cripple your event, here are a few steps to take to ensure you make the best decision possible.
Check the speaker’s background.
Look for industry experience in the speaker’s bio. What did they do (or what are they still doing) in their life aside from speaking? For example, corporate speaker Scott McKain runs several multi-million dollar companies outside of his speaking business. So when he gives advice on how to grow an organization, people know that he speaks from experience—not from a textbook. If specific experience isn’t apparent in the speaker’s bio, don’t be afraid to ask a candidate specific questions about how they came to be an expert in the areas on which they speak. A true expert loves to share why they know so much. In fact, you’ll have a hard time getting them to stop talking!
Listen to the speaker’s stories.
Watch a few of the speaker’s video clips or preview the candidate in person. Listen for stories where they share examples of things they were involved in, rather than only re-telling other’s stories. Experts who speak will include other’s research and experience in their material, but they will have a lot more of “my research shows…” and “When I did this…” Additionally, find out if the speaker has a compelling personal story. Many experts have a signature story or experience they share that has been polished to perfection and can help carry the message. This is not required to be an expert who speaks, but it’s a bonus.