Once you have selected the speaker it is time to start preparing your team and the speaker for the event. With each speaker having their own process, it is important that you get to know the speaker’s approach to preparing the presentation and how to work with them at the event to confirm the expectations and deliverables beforehand. The success of your event will depend on the time spent preparing and coordinating with your team. Each team member has their own responsibilities therefore it is important to designate at least one team member to work with the speaker. If you do have two colleagues responsible to coordinate with the speaker it is important for them both to have clear roles when interacting with the speaker. For example, one team member could be the main point of contact for the speaker regarding content and the other could be responsible to manage the speaker’s travel to the event.
The speaker coordinator can often share insights, ideas, and processes to their team members on behalf of the team members which often keeps a simple but strong and efficient line of communication. Having more than one team member assigned to manage all the logistics and content with the speaker risks the possibility of miscommunicating a singular message or can create a situation where the speaker is being told two different things in the same manner.
HOW DO I PREPARE THE SPEAKER FOR THE EVENT?
It is important for the leaders and organizers to have a meeting or two beforehand to outline what you hope to achieve through the speaker at the event. During this internal in-person or virtual meeting, you and the team will be able to outline any important meeting dates and important dates for deliverables for the speaker. It is recommended to make an agenda for the remainder of the planning, discuss your session requirements, topic themes you hope to have addressed, A/V availability or virtual software platform, and if possible, have a prepared agenda for the daily agenda/conference program along with important contact information for representatives that will be coordinating with the speaker before the event.
If you have a bilingual requirement or if you require the speaker to submit slides for translation or for accessibility purposes, it is also important to make notes on when you will require the speaker to submit their slide deck, or any other conditions set to meet the session requirements before the event takes place. Speakers will require to communicate with representatives involved in the promotion of the event, as well as main contacts involved in the production and delivery of the event for A/V rehearsals and virtual test runs. Speakers also usually like to know who will be speaking before or after them, as well as the person who will be introducing them to the audience. During these meetings you can also assign clear roles and responsibilities for your team members and go over each detail and request for the speaker. You can also mitigate risks, come up with back up plans and discuss any information that you need clarified by the speaker bureau or their speaker.
WILL I BE ABLE TO CONNECT OR COMMUNICATE WITH THE SPEAKER DIRECTLY PRIOR TO MY EVENT?
Most if not all of our speakers are available to speak with you directly prior to you choosing them as your speaker as well as after they have been selected for the event. Speakers Bureau Canada connects you to arrange a conference call or video conference call directly between the speaker and your team. When connecting you with a speaker, we always ensure that all the information about your event is communicated to the speaker while outlining major points of discussions within the call to best prepare the speaker for their presentation and for your event. We call this a “content creative discovery call” “creative call” or “discovery call”. All terms mean the same thing as the primary purpose of the call is to go over the event details, logistics and the content of the presentation to ensure that there is alignment before, during and at the event.
WHAT IS A DISCOVERY CALL OR CREATIVE CALL? WHAT SHOULD WE DISCUSS AND HOW DO I PREPARE FOR THE CALL?
Having a video conference discovery call with the speaker to do a content overview is something we always feel is one of the most important stages in working with the speaker leading up to the event. Some may even do a face to face in person meeting, however in most cases we organize a virtual meeting between the speaker and your team. The guest speakers and motivational speakers we work with, will always want to connect with organizers and event planning teams at an early stage to participate in the creative process for planning the event and discuss the event details and confirm the focus for their presentation.
During the call, a good speaker will understand each organizations process leading up to the event to go over content and set meeting times to discuss content or to meet the technical requirements for the session. Great speakers will not only align their process with the organizations but will also create value for the organization by providing insights, new ideas and areas to focus on within each stage of planning and delivering the event. Great professional speakers will also provide strategy and insights on how to best promote the event and how to motivate and engage the attendees to the content of what they will be learning through the speaker’s presentation.
WILL THE SPEAKER TAILOR OR CUSTOMIZE THEIR PRESENTATION FOR OUR EVENT AND AUDIENCE?
Professional motivational speakers and keynote speakers from the Speakers Bureau of Canada will always research the audience, the event theme, and the desired learning outcomes of the session before the event takes place. Through their unique insights and professional approach to each event, the speaker will be able to include key messaging that blends the organizational needs of the audience with the speakers’ areas of expertise within each topic theme identified for the session. Having this approach, enables the speaker to customize their presentation according to the needs of the organization and audience. Our motivational keynote speakers work closely with clients to go over the content, and each customized presentation includes carefully selected content with practical insights that educate and motivate the audience to implement right after the event. Good speakers will be able to understand the program and the needs of the audience, and by using a professional approach to each event, they are able to deliver presentations that resonate with each audience member and their profession. Great speakers know who they are addressing, and adapt their presentation so that it is relevant, timely and relates to the organization and their everyday work experiences.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE SPEAKER CANNOT MAKE IT TO THE ENGAGEMENT OR IF THE SPEAKER CANCELLS THEIR APPEARANCE?
The speaker has cancelled…what do I do? Cancellations happen however they are quite uncommon when working with a professional speaker, especially if they are represented by a speakers bureau. Cancellations occur in less than one percent of our bookings and the only excusable reasons for cancellations are unexpected illness, family emergencies or unavoidable weather with travel delays.
Working with a Canadian speaker bureau like Speakers Canada is one of the best ways to limit the risk in planning an event with a speaker, as if the speaker cancels the event, our bureau agents and talent will all work closely with you to find an active replacement. There is an agreeance between speakers bureaus and their speakers to collaborate with one another to work under the same conditions set within the contract for the cancelled speaker, and to provide a speaker that is equal to greater value than the original speaker booked. Another good strategy is finding a good local speaker who will not be subject to travel conditions to make it to the location.
We consider ourselves an active partner and contributor to the success of your event and in rare instances that a cancellation occurs, we jump into action for an “all hands-on deck” situation where we call upon all our resources and network of speakers to make alternative arrangements to fill your program and find an adequate replacement speaker. We are available to you and your team at all hours and will work to resolve the situation efficiently and effectively with the success of the event and the speakers session at the forefront of our work.
SHOULD I PROVIDE A LAISON OR ESCORT FOR THE KEYNOTE SPEAKER ON SITE AT THE EVENT?
Yes. It is recommended to dedicate each speaker a liaison or personal escort so that the speaker can have a person to contact upon arrival and go over the program, timetable, and their commitments. Having a company representative will assist the speaker to familiarize themselves with the venue, room location, A/V set up, daily agenda, event contributors, production company representatives and meet & greet the event planning team and the executive leadership that the speaker has more than likely met or acquainted with during the booking process. Having a personal liaison at the event also gives the opportunity for the speaker to ask questions about the organization, audience profile, history of the event and can be used as a” vibe check” to understand the audiences mood at the event and what the mood will be as they gather to attend the speakers session. There are many components involved in the speaker delivering a great presentation and having a representative to assist the speaker while on site assures the right process and enables the session to be set up for success.
AUDIO AND VISUAL SET UP AND REQUIREMENTS.
The technical requirements for speakers will vary. Some speakers prefer a lapel microphone while others prefer a handheld mic. Some speakers may have a large slide deck of visual references and other technical speakers may have a collection of statistics to back up their key points displayed as a graph. In all cases and no matter what the situation, the host organization is responsible to research and provide the technical requirements for the speaker. Professional speakers know their materials the best and how they should be displayed to the audience. They will work with the IT & A/V representatives to clearly outline their needs. Here are some of the major technical requirements a speaker may have:
- Projector screen
- Laptop Computer – Mac or Windows – Can be multiple
- USB Flash Drive – Mac or Windows – Can be multiple
- Microphone Type
- Connectors and Convertors for different adaptors and plugins
- Cords for hook ups
- Plug in with extension cord
- Jug/Glass of Water
HOW TO PREPARE THE AUDIO/VISUAL (A/V) REQURIEMENTS FOR A VIRTUAL EVENT?
The technical requirements for virtual motivational speakers and virtual meetings are different than in person events. Virtual speakers and online events set different conditions that can impact the virtual presentation. Some of these factors are conditional set by the virtual software platform you have chosen or the bandwidth and internet speed while onboarding the attendees. Some of the other major factors can be the weather if it affects the internet that day, the room set up for the speaker on the time of day for the presentation and how the speaker will be presenting virtually.
In setting up the technology for the event, it is important to share the virtual link with the speaker at an early stage to make sure they can access the session. We do not recommend that you take control of the speakers slides as this will affect the fluidity of the speakers’ presentation and their ability to engage the audience. It is great to have an IT representative or production company available for the test run meetings, however, be careful on how much “control” you are taking away from the speaker during the session, as professional virtual speakers will be able to know, understand and deliver the presentation the best way they know how which will increase the audience engagement and leave less room for a technical error. We also do not recommend that the speaker supplies the virtual software as the organization will be able to invest and understand the needs and requirements of their attendees, which will limit the possibility of the virtual event being disrupted.
HOW TO DO A VIRTUAL TEST RUN OF THE SOFTWARE WITH THE SPEAKER AND SHOULD I TEST THE SOFTWARE WITH THE SPEAKER BEFORE THE EVENT DATE?
It is recommended to meet with the speaker for two separate virtual test runs of the software – the first session about 14 days away from the event at the same time as the presentation and the second to be about 30 minutes prior to the event taking place. During the virtual test runs you can then test to see how the speaker visually comes across to the audience while testing functions such as the fireside chat boxes, breakout rooms, and slide presentations being delivered by the speaker.
Engaging virtual presentations usually have the speaker set up to be one on one with the camera with a small amount of production for keeping their eyes focused on the camera and now swaying off to the side to look at their reference points throughout the presentation. Good virtual speakers will have done a lot of research prior to the event to understand the needs of the organization and who they will be presenting for. Great virtual speakers will already be familiar with the content that will resonate best with the audience and have a strong understanding of the online platform (MS TEAMS or ZOOM) that you have chosen to work with.
WILL THE SPEAKERS DO MORE THAN JUST PRESENTING THE PRESENTATION? WILL THEY ATTEND A MEAL OR RECEPTION INCLUDED IN THE FEE?
Most keynote presenters will participate in functions, meetings, luncheons, or dinners beyond before or after their speech. This varies per speaker as it will depend on their travel to other events as well as how “formal” any additional commitments are. Some speakers may charge for meet and greet sessions, book signings and photo opportunities however most are flexible unless they are a celebrity speaker. Most presentations have an audience Q&A session after the presentation however it is great to have the speaker available to attendees in case, they would like to meet them in person and ask them a more personal question. All session commitments and requests for the speaker should be outlined to the speaker before the booking and agreed/approved in advance of the event and included in the contract.
DO THE SPEAKERS BUREAU OF CANADA’S MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKERS ALLOW VIDEO RECORDINGS, LIVESTREAM, OR VIDEOTAPING WITH AUDIO OF THEIR PRESENTATION?
Most professional speakers will approve recording for the organizations internal archive; however, every speaker has their own way to approach video recordings at the event. Virtual events are almost always approved for participants who could not make it to the session. Some speakers may want to charge for livestreams or recordings if the video is put is utilized for training purposes or if the video recording ends up on social media. In all cases and situations, you must seek permission from the speaker before recording of any kind. Speakers Canada is able to negotiate recordings with speakers in most cases, as our agreements usually protect them if there is any breach of the conditions set to outline how the recording will be utilised after the event.
IS IT GOOD TO ARRANGE FOR THE SPEAKER’S BOOKS TO BE AVAILABLE TO ATTENDEES AT THE EVENT?
Speakers Canada’s professional speakers and guest speakers often have best selling books or books that compliment their presentations. Having the speakers books available to attendees at the event is a great way to hold a meet and greet with the speaker and engages attendees to the session. We can also put you in touch directly with the speakers publisher to purchase a bulk order number of copies for each attendee. Having the speakers book available is an added value for the speaker and the audience. Speakers Canada will ensure and guarantee that you have access to the most cost-effective source for securing large quantities for wholesale prices of books authored by our speakers. We can also arrange for a local bookseller to be on site and handle book sales on behalf of the speaker at the event. Having a book available as a door prize or gift bag is also another great way to offer each attendee a bonus at the event.