1. Why Choosing a Professional Motivational Speaker is so Necessary Find a speaker with a proven ability to motivate and you will be assured your meeting will have the success all of your hard work will rightly deserve. A good speaker with the ability to motivate delegates can turn ‘average’ event evaluation scores into superlatives such as, ‘brilliant, fantastic and superb’. Correctly motivate your delegates and you will receive credit for helping to instill in them an internal energy that determines just about all aspects of their future behaviour. This is why hiring a professional, motivational presenter is so important. 2. Watch out for the ‘Pretend’ Motivating Speaker It is essential you understand that any Tom, Dick or Harry can legally call himself or herself a ‘motivating speaker’. So merely finding someone listed as such on a website, or in a small business directory, is no guarantee as to his or her ability to motivate an audience. Would-be motivating presenters are inventing themselves on a daily basis. They see the perceived success, and other associated privileges that a top international, professional, motivating speaker appears to have, and think along the lines ‘I could do that – easy money, travel to exotic places, fast cars, top hotels etc’. Ask a top motivational presenter if that is fair reflection of their lifestyle and he or she is likely to reply ‘If only’. So what do you need to look out for in your search for in your quest? 3. Sourcing a Top Speaker Type motivational speaker into a search engine and you will expect many million hits. This, of course, only partially helps you in your quest for the perfect speaker for your event! How many times have you reserve for this task? If you are thinking in hours, rather than weeks, then you are advised to read on: Choosing a short list of potential candidates from the first two or three pages of a search engine listing seems, and is to some extent, a logical way to proceed. However, there are further issues that are worthy of your consideration: 4. Do I Straight Contact a Loudspeaker or go via an Agent or Bureau? Speaker agents and bureaus represent the majority of the best, professional speakers who specialise in motivational talks. Agents are only interested in someone who is set up as a top professional speaker already. They proactively promote the speaker, putting a speaker’s name forward to conference organisers and the like. They charge a fee to the speaker for this ongoing service, usually based on a percentage of the speaker’s fee for the occasion. For effective ‘numbers’ management reasons, the choice of motivational speaker found through an agent, can be limiting. Bureaus tend to be dedicated to providing conference organisers, corporations, associations, and educational institutions with a large selection of professional speakers from which to choose. Too much choice can be their biggest disadvantage. A so-called Motivational Speaker, good or bad, experienced or amateur, may also often represent their own interests, and so it may be useful easily now provide a few tips on how to identify an established, professional motivating speaker of quality from a large pool of the Johnny-come-lately brigade. 5. With a Quality Speaker – Talent Will Shine Through Top position for a ‘motivational speaker’ on search engines usually fluctuates from one day to the next, so compose a short-list from the first two or three pages, and you are ready to begin. It is worth of bearing in mind that sponsored links for motivational presenters are there because someone is prepared to pay, sometimes-large amounts, to jump to the front of the queue of additional speakers. Whereas this is an admirable indication that they are prepared to invest in advertising, it does not necessarily follow that you’ll receive the cost effective for your money. Here is an easy way to narrow down your short list: 6. Establish the Experience of the Speaker Retype that which you originally searched for, into the search engine, and add one of the true names you have recorded in your short checklist e.g. Motivational Speaker + His or Her Name. Now you can better determine whether that particular speaker has the expertise you require. You will also have an indication as whether or not an agent or bureau represents them as a ‘motivation’ speaker. 7. Carefully Research the Speaker’s Testimonials Any speaker, worthy of consideration, will have a selection of testimonials from previous clients available for you to view on his or her website. Ensure individuals and companies are named. Descriptions such as ‘A senior manager at a large well-known organization said….’, are of little to no value, and should start alarm bells ringing. Look for named sources from quality companies. Such individuals are usually extremely selective about which motivational speaker they are prepared to recommend as their own reputation could be on the line. 8. Can the ‘Motivation’ Speaker Motivate? It may sound obvious, but the most important trait required by a motivational presenter can be an ability to motivate. Tragically, some meetings organisers have previously discovered, to their considerable cost, that it does not necessarily follow that a professional ‘motivating’ presenter can motivate. Nor can it be assumed that someone described as a ‘celebrity motivational presenter’ can be expected to somehow inspire your viewers by simply turning up on the day. Talks provided by a top speaker are cautiously structured and based upon a science that is studied by few and practised by even fewer. Ensure your choice of speaker has proven credentials, and don’t assume that people of a related, professional body, are qualified and suitable somehow. Minimal knowledge as a speaker and the price of a membership fee are all that is required, in qualification, to signing up for some such organisations. Being published on motivating techniques, through a reputable source, is a good indication of the expertise needed to work as a top motivation speaker. Use the method described in Tip 6 above to secure a fast and simple result. Ideally, watch videos of the speaker performing, and listen to the audience reaction to determine whether he or she includes a rapport with the audience. Rapport and humour are essential ingredients in the ‘motivation’ cake. If, when watching video clips provided by the presenter, you are not laughing, your audience are not likely to laugh either then! Laughter is an essential part of motivation. 9. Cost Issues Regarding a Quality Motivating Presenter Ideally you should have some idea of a ‘speaker fee’ budget before commencing your search for a suitable speaker. The costs in hiring a motivating speaker can vary dramatically and are dependent on the location of venue, numbers of delegates attending, the duration of the required motivational speech and the product quality and popularity of the speaker. My advice is this – if your meeting is worth holding it is worth investing in an experienced and proven speaker with the ability to motivate others. Paying the little bit more often produces an immensely worthwhile purchase. Whether you deal with the speaker direct, or through an bureau or agent, should purely be considered a matter of choice. In theory the fees quoted from an agent, bureau or the speaker direct should be the same. If you are interested in a celebrity speaker you are unlikely to find direct contact details for that person, and your only line of enquiry will need to be through an agent or bureau specialising in celebrity speakers who excel in motivation. Agents that actively promote a speaker have a good idea of the fee normally required to secure a speaker’s services and will share that figure with you when you make your initial enquiry. It is wise to obtain an all-in-fee from an agent. A bureau’s commission is normally obtained from the speaker. This commission can vary but normally falls between 15% and 30%. If they do not have a particular presenter on their books they are usually happy to trace them and make any arrangements on your behalf. Few professional speakers work with only one agent or bureau. If there is no mention of exclusivity on promotional material you can assume there is not. This, in effect means, that if you come across a speaker of your choice, and he or she supplies contact details, this is an implied permission so that you can contact him or her direct and independently negotiate a speaker fee. Your aim should be to obtain value for money. 10. Information Required by a Professional Speaker Normally. If you are contacting a speaker direct, and you have researched him or her as advised, you will end up confident in knowing you are speaking with the right person for the working job. Should you decide on taking the broker or bureau route, the first thing you need to make perfectly clear, for the good reasons described in Tip 8 above, is that you are seeking a ‘motivational’ speaker. Next supply the date of the event. A top speaker is usually very popular and you will save yourself a complete lot of time, and disappointment, by establishing their availability early in the proceedings. It is perfectly acceptable to ask if you can provisionally hold a particular presenter for a few days until a final decision is made. Good meetings organisers will usually provide a description of the purpose and objectives of a conference, venue, type and size of viewers and the duration of the talk required. You should clearly state what you expect from the speaker also. By way of example you might say ‘at the end of your motivating talk I want the delegates to be laughing and enjoying the meeting. They need to have been entertained, educated, motivated and inspired to eventually return to their place of work and put into action some of the great ideas we will be providing at other times during the conference’. The best motivational presenters provide tried and tested presentations that are skilfully adapted to fit in with the theme of your meeting and will usually meet your requirements fully. For your own peace-of-mind obtain a written agreement of the terms agreed and, where achievable, a guarantee of total satisfaction.