Will the Speaker Make Them Laugh, Make Them Think, or Make Them Change?

The meeting planner’s job is to put on memorable meetings and choosing good speakers is an important part.

What makes a speaker “good?”  Most would say a speaker is good if the audience enjoys or connects with the speaker and the message.  Thus speakers are often evaluated on a feeling instead of an outcome.

What is the value of a feeling?  It depends.

If we’re talking about the opening keynote, and the message creates emotion that supports the meeting’s purpose and that emotion is carried throughout the meeting, it adds value to the meeting.

What about a presentation that just makes people feel good, i.e. one that is funny or shares an interesting story; does it add value?  If attendees enjoy the experience, it helps to create a good feeling that they will hopefully remember about the meeting.

The people who write the check for speakers often expect more than standing applause or some breathlessness from laughter after the speech.  They expect an outcome.  Yes, they want their attendees to have a good experience and they understand the importance of having an entertaining speaker, but unless they’re paying for a comedian or a singer, they expect the attendees to think differently and act differently in ways that improve their condition.  That’s a tall order, yet it is one that is often unspoken or poorly defined to the meeting planner.

How is a meeting planner most likely to choose a speaker today?  Many factors go into the decision, including the speaker’s reputation, a recommendation from a colleague, and often a quick view of the speaker’s demo video.  When meeting planners call me as a potential speaker for their meeting, the questions I’m asked are more about whether I’ll be good for the meeting as opposed to whether or not I can produce a more tangible and sustainable outcome.  Good speakers can do one or the other.  Great speakers can do both.

The speakers you’ll find listed on www.lastminutespeakerflorida.com, for example, are all compelling presenters with entertaining styles, yet they are mainly content experts and outcome focused. The main question we ask any speaker who asks to be part of our group is, “What is the tangible, long-term value you provide for the listener?”  Guess what?  Most speakers can answer that question but they can’t answer it well.  Why?  Because they confuse the standing ovations they receive (or say they receive) with the true value they provide.  As a result, the speakers listed on the lastminutespeaker.com website are a select group with proven track records who deliver lasting value.

Last minute speakers are often chosen just to fill a slot.  If the speaker is good, no one notices the original speaker’s absence although the long-term value is often lost.  Meeting planners choose better last minute speakers when they ask better questions (other than, “What time will you be here?”).

When you hire a great replacement speaker that continues to contribute to the meeting long after it ends, you’ve demonstrated your professionalism in an area that is often overlooked.  Yes, good last minute speakers can make the audience laugh or make them think.  Great ones help them to improve the way they do their jobs so they can provide better results for their organization.

Great meeting planners don’t just deliver great speakers; they deliver great speakers who deliver great outcomes.



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