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PLANNER'S PORTFOLIO:

Checklist

BY CHERYL-ANNE STURKEN

The following checklist was compiled with the help of the National Speakers Bureau, 14047 W. Petronella Dr., Libertyville, Ill. 60048

Choosing the Right Speaker

EVALUATE NEEDS

  • What is the speaker's role in the event? For example, will he be a keynoter or a session moderator?
  • How should the presentation affect the audience? Should they be entertained or motivated to sell?
  • What is the budget?
  • What is the audience makeup (gender, age, economic background)?
  • What type of speaker would best suit the group's needs (humorist, futurist, economist)?
  • Will the event have an overall theme that the speaker must tie into?
  • List any special requests for the speaker (book signing, question-and-answer session, autographs).

MAKING CONTACT

  • Give the speaker or her agent the group's name and size as well as some background on the organization.
  • Let the speaker know where you got her name.
  • Give the location, dates of the event and time of the speech. Specify if those details are subject to change.
  • Let the speaker know if you have a definite topic or theme in mind. Likewise, specify if you need a customized speech.
  • Give the speaker a specific time frame, and clarify whether it will include a question-and-answer period.
  • State the budget and whether costs such as airfare, lodging, meals, transportation and incidentals will be reimbursed as additional expenses.
  • Give the speaker details on the audience size and makeup. Is the audience a competitive sales group? Will they be sitting through a full day of seminars?
  • If this is an annual meeting and the speaker is to be the key presenter, mention names of speakers who have been well-received by the audience at past meetings.
  • Discuss special interests of attendees, as well as organizational taboos, particularly if the audience will include inter-national participants.
  • Ask the speaker for biographical information, a video of his speech (if available), referrals and copies of handouts. Review all materials well in advance.
  • For customized speeches, ask to see several key points, but do not expect to see an entire transcript or video of the speech before the event.
  • If possible, meet with the speaker in person. Better yet, ask if you can see him in action at another event.
  • Discuss permission to videotape or record the presentation.

NEGOTIATING THE DEAL

  • How many meeting rooms will be available exclusively to the group?
  • Do any have visual obstructions? Are they soundproof?
  • Does each meeting room have its own sound system, data ports, and light and temperature controls?
  • Is there a storage area near the meeting space?
  • Do ballrooms have access to the banquet kitchen?
  • What is the capacity and location of the freight elevator?