We have all sat through a boring presentation. Maybe it’s a topic that we are already familiar with, maybe the topic is too far over our heads, or maybe the person giving the presentation just has your sleep number dialed in and is slowly lulling you into a coma.
There is so much to consider when booking an association speaker, but the thing that should always stay top of mind is your audience. Finding a speaker that can engage your audience effectively and hand off actionable take-aways is gold. It can leave your audience feeling like they walked out of the greatest feel-good movie ever - in comparison to sitting through a subtitled foreign film.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE RIGHT SPEAKER
The right speaker will engage your audience with valuable information and provide a fresh energy to your association meetings. On the flip side, a bad speaker or a speaker that’s not right for your audience can shed a negative light on your organization - leaving you audience unenthused, or, in the worst case scenario, even effect membership numbers.
FOCUS ON YOUR MEMBERS: THE AUDIENCE
If you just give your audience what they’re expecting, they’re going to get bored. So you need to make sure that you are keeping the content fresh for them. Finding a speaker that can deliver actionable topics that are new and exciting is an ideal situation. Of course, it’s also important that the topics are relatable. New and fresh is great, but it has to tie into what your members care about. So, surprise them with new stuff, but make sure it fits. (This advice also applies to buying gifts for your wife.)
A great way to make sure the topics are relevant is to think about your audience and the problems they’re struggling with. Is there a common issue that ails a majority of your members? Finding an association speaker that addresses solutions to those common problems can show that you really care about your members. Because they WANT to hear a speaker that can give them ideas that they can implement – actionable topics.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF THEY ARE THE ONE?
We know that when you hire an association speaker that one of your primary concerns should be whether or not they are speaking to actionable topics that your audience cares about. So, how do we make sure that the person that is going to speak for your association is the right speaker for you?
Here are 4 questions you can ask your potential association speakers to make sure they will delight your audience:
1. What sets you apart from other association speakers?
Their answers on what makes them different will be very revealing. Listen for phrases like “I give them steps they can take”, “dealing with their issues”, or “I bring bagels”. (The last one doesn’t speak to actionable topics, but is obviously a positive.)
2. What actionable items will my audience walk away with?
They should be able to tell you from their experience that after their presentation people will be able to do x, y, and z. They will probably even have specific instances to talk to where members from other associations have followed through with their advice and it has helped them in a positive way since.
3. What is some common feedback from members after your presentation?
This will give you a two-fold answer. If they say they don’t get much feedback, that means that they don’t really network after they speak - which takes away from the benefit to your members. Or, that they don’t get much feedback because they have dealt with polite members that stick to the rule their mothers taught them - if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all. Hopefully the answer will speak to the excitement that the members have when speaking to them afterward their presentation - cluing you in to the level of engagement that is normally received from them speaking. Words to listen for:
- excited, or
4. How can you customize your message to our needs?
You have put some thought into the issues that your members are dealing with so you want to make sure that the speaker is prepared to be able to speak to those issues. The last thing that you want is a canned presentation.
This might seem like a lot of information, but by knowing how important it is to find an association speaker that delivers actionable topics to your members and being able to ask a few questions to make sure that you do find that right speaker - you are going to be engaging your members, keeping them happy and keep on renewing your association memberships for years to come.