Choosing the speaker(s) for your meeting can be one of a meeting planner’s most important (and challenging) tasks. Locating speakers to choose from, sorting through long lists of topics, trying to find a match in your fee range… What’s a planner to do?!
The following tips from the Directory of Dental Speakers (d.d.s.) are designed to help you effectively and
easily navigate the process.
1) What Does Your Audience NEED?
The first step is to understand the needs of your group. Would they benefit by learning specific or technical information? Is a motivational speaker appropriate? Would the group benefit from conflict resolution or better leadership skills?
2) When ~ Where ~ and How Much ($)?
Once you’ve determined the basic needs of your meeting and when/where it will be held, start your speaker search. Many speakers book speeches out 1 – 2 years in advance. You’ll want to secure your date as soon as possible.
How much time do you have to fill? Where does this speech fall in your overall program? A speaker can tell you how much time is needed for their presentation. They can also tell you which order their presentations are best delivered in.
What’s your budget for the meeting? Understanding how much you can pay the speaker will help you widen or narrow your search based upon your budget.
A speaker with a well‐known name is not a guarantee of an exceptional presentation. Large honorariums don’t ensure high quality. It’s always a good idea to preview the speaker’s video to be sure he/she has the presentation skills to communicate effectively. What “type” of speaker do you need: a keynote speaker, a clinician, a consultant, a facilitator, or a combination?
4) What Resources are Available?
The Directory of Dental Speakers (d.d.s) helps you find speakers in all topic and fee ranges. Our purpose is to facilitate communication between speakers and meeting planners. Our listings contain presentation details, bio information, past and future presentations and speaker contact information. It’s a one stop shop!
You can also narrow your search with personal referrals. Ask colleagues who they recommend.
5) Interview Potential Speakers
Has the speaker addressed groups similar to yours? Ask about their experience. Ask for a biography, testimonials and videos of their presentations. Will the speaker customize the
presentation for your group? Ask for references. Ask if they belong to professional associations; what awards or certifications they have earned; and if they’ve written for any publications.
6) Choose Your Perfect Speaker
Remember that you are not only paying for the time the speaker is on the platform but also for the hours spent researching, preparing and customizing the presentation. Some speakers may negotiate their fees when they are doing more than one program for you or when they are allowed to sell their products.
7) Letter of Agreement
Send a letter of agreement that clearly outlines the expectations for both parties. Considerations:
- Travel arrangement (air, hotel and ground transportation)
- If the speaker may sell products and if so, how this will be handled
- If sponsorship is allowed and what restrictions apply
- Agreement for audio‐ or videotaping of the presentation
- Cancellation policies
- Audio/visual and set up requirements
8) Communicate with Your Speaker
Help the speaker become familiar with your group. Send your newsletter and a copy of any marketing material that you distribute to advertise the event. Provide a clear outline of what you expect. Be specific about the size and demographics of your audience.
9) Room and Audio/Visual Setup
The speaker can work with you to be sure the room is set for an optimum learning experience. Take into consideration the arrangement of chairs, room temperature, lighting, etc.
Asking your attendees to complete evaluations of the speaker and meeting will allow you to measure results and plan for future meetings. Be sure to share copies of the evaluations with your speaker.