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Speakers Offer a Spark to Meetings and Events
Speakers can make or break an event. Anyone who has ever witnessed a speaker flop knows that finding the perfect person to entertain, amuse or inspire a group of people can be quite a challenge. Sometimes inadequate performances are the speakers fault, but often the fault lies with the meeting planner. Meeting planners must develop a concise schedule, budget and goal before choosing a speaker. Austin is bursting at the seams with dynamic storytellers, flashy comedians and inspirational communicators. The following are considerations that meeting planners should take into account when planning and executing meetings and events that include speakers.

Custom Messages
While meeting planners should attempt to choose speakers that are a logical fit to their meeting objectives, it is also the responsibility of the speaker to ensure that he/she knows their audience. Many meeting planners provide speakers with a list of key words and phrases that might be useful when delivering a message. Also, meeting planners should include several sources for group demographic information, copies of recent publications or reports and other materials that will help the speaker tailor the message to the event. Meeting planners should discuss their expectations with the speaker. Never assume that the speaker instantly understands the goal of the event. The speaker and the meeting planner should strive to provide a custom message to attendees.

Speaker Interaction
Depending on the nature and status of the speaker, it may be appropriate for him or her to speak with fans and engage in the social aspects of the event. This is especially true of celebrities, sports stars and other widely-known figures. Meeting planners should inquire about permission to use, distribute and promote high-profile speakers in their materials. Meeting planners might want to have materials on hand for speakers that will offer autographs.

Experience Outshines Allure
Hire a professional and you'll hire an ally. Speakers who have a vested interest in the subject they are addressing are more likely to make an impact at meetings or events. While celebrity speakers can be engaging and inspiring, it is essential to consider the goals of the program before booking a high-status speaker. Employing an expert that also speaks well is almost always preferable to a generic professional speaker or a celebrity with no background knowledge.

Set the Stage
It is essential to make sure that the meeting setting is designed for maximum impact. If the meeting facility is not conducive to a speaker, the meeting planner should consider using other forms of entertainment. The meeting environment has as much to do with the overall success of the speaker as the actual message. If guests are distracted by obscure views and other annoyances, than the value of the speaker will be lost. Meeting planners should consider the temperature, room layout, lighting and any technical needs before the actual day of the event.

Hidden Expenses
It is essential to discover any hidden expenses before entering into a contract with a speaker. Many speakers require specific accommodations, flight service and dining allowances that can add to the overall budget. Meeting planners should also be sure how many people will accompany the speaker, as many travel with assistants. The detailed expectations of the speaker and the meeting planner should be outlined in writing in a formal contract or agreement. Considerations such as cancellation policies and legal implications should be addressed before the contract is signed.

Speakers Bureaus
Speakers bureaus are a great way to get in touch with industry experts and high-profile celebrities. The University of Texas at Austin’s Speakers Bureau offers connections to a talented and diverse pool of speakers located in and around the city. Speaker’s Bureaus often receive their fees directly from the speaker and offer promotional materials and expert advice.

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