Public Speaking Course:
20 Questions to Ask BEFORE Hiring a Speaker
Here are some questions to help you to find the right kind of speaker
for any kind of speaking engagement. During
my public speaking course you will find that there are many good
questions to ask a speaker before you hire them. They were designed to help you determine
the speaker's skill level. Here are a few to get
- Is the speaker's topic right for my audience?
- Does the speaker have verifiable references?
- Does the speaker have audio and/or video demonstration materials?
These materials should show you what the speaker is like in front
of an audience. Caution: Don't get hung up on the topical information
on the demo tape. Remember that you are looking to see how the speaker
or trainer works at the front of the room.
- Does the speaker customize? To what level?
- Is the speaker entertaining as well as informative?
- Does the speaker do thorough pre- program research? Will the speaker
be interviewing employees or members of the organization, or obtaining
information about the organization and industry to prepare for the
- Does the speaker provide handout masters and/or finished handouts?
Often your organization's name, logo, and particulars can be incorporated
in the handout.
- Does the speaker involve the audience? Depending on the type of
presentation (is this a lecture or a training workshop?), the speaker
should speak directly to the audience, andencourage questions.
- Does the speaker use only clean and appropriate humor? Off-color,
racial, ethnic, gender, or even slightly blue jokes or comments can
turn your audience off in a heartbeat. Ask the speaker's references
- Does the speaker accommodate hearing and sight impaired audience
members? (i.e., Handouts in Braille, audio tapes, etc.)?
- Is the speaker accessible to all attendees before and after the
event? Make sure the speaker is willing to arrive early and
stay for a while after the event. The audience will want to
shake hands, ask questions, get autographs, and ask about materials
for sale. Tip: Always include a break after each speaker.
- Does the speaker "hardsell" products from the platform?
- Is the speaker's office responsive to requests for information?
Will the speaker's bureau help you get answers to all of your questions?
- Is the speaker easy to get along with (Determined from references
and personal conversations)? Does he or she make stringent demands?
Is he or she willing to make last-minute adjustments?
- What is the speaker's fee?
- Is the speaker's fee negotiable? If yes, what do you have of value
to give in return for a fee reduction? Possibilities might be
a video tape master, list of attendees, testimonial letter, referrals,
extra night accommodations, choice of time slot, choice of date, multiple
performance contract, extra publicity, spouse airfare and meals, products,
- Does the speaker offer any discounts on his or her fee? (For
certain geographical areas, resorts, time of year, non -profit organization)?
- Can the speaker fill more than one slot which will save money on
hiring another speaker and paying additional travel costs?
- What are the payment terms of the speaker's contract? Typically,
a 50 percent deposit is required to hold a speaker's date.
- Can you arrange to preview the speaker at nearby functions to get
a clear picture of the speaker's delivery, manner, language, and poise?
to hire or not should be much easier after they have answered your questions
satisfactory. The skills you will learn in your
public speaking course will help you in picking the right speaker for
the job. Don't settle for someone doesn't have the style your looking
for--it's worth the time to do thorough research and find the right one.