Don’ts of Choosing a Speaker

1. Do not leave things until the last minute. The earlier you begin making plans the more choice you will have of booking your preferred speaker. Remember the best speakers book engagements months in advance.

2. Do not choose a date and book a venue if you particularly want a specific speaker or comedian before checking on his or her availability. You must be prepared to be flexible. Find out some dates on which your chosen speaker is available, and then book everything else around a mutually acceptable date.

3. Do not choose a speaker just because someone else says they have heard that so-and-so is very good. Remember, if a speaker whom you’ve recommended ‘bombs’, it’ll be regarded as your fault.

4. Do not choose a speaker just because they appear to be cheap. As I said, work on the basis of you-get-what-you-pay-for. If someone is cheap, there’s probably a good reason for it!

5. Do not assume that a professional speaker has to be a well-known celebrity. There are many speakers out there today who have vast experience and may be more suitable for your event.

6. Do not rely on anyone else to arrange the speaker for you unless they are professionals and can offer you a contract. Especially do not rely on a friend or colleague who says, for example, “they know a big star” and can arrange for him to speak at your event “as a favour”. This has never been known to work, especially if the big star is offered a paying job on the same day as you’re unpaid or lowly paid ‘favour’ job. Guess which job will be cancelled!

7. Do not assume that everything will run smoothly. Work on the basis that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. In which case when a problem occurs you will hopefully be prepared for it. If nothing does go wrong, this will give you an even greater sense of achievement.

8. Finally, do not ply your chosen speaker with large G&Ts or champagne before the speech. Speakers are often very nervous and anxious to please their hosts and will drink anything you give them without thinking. The consequences of this are just too awful to contemplate. They can get drunk afterwards but not before!