Guest Speaker Checklist
Once you’ve found your perfect guest speaker, the next key step is ensuring everything runs smoothly, both in the lead-up to the event and at the event itself.
Below, we've summarised the key points you need to hit before your event or workshop.
Confirm the deliverables
The first thing you should do once you’ve booked a guest speaker is confirm with them the deliverables for the event.
You’ve probably already communicated some of the details, but now is the time to reinforce the theme or topic, the duration for the guest speaker, and anything else they may be required to do at the event, like do a Q&A panel or mingle with guests.
It can be beneficial to hold a briefing or rehearsal prior to the event if you've got time to do so. This can give the guest speaker a feel for the room and the setup and ensure they're comfortable when it comes to event time.
Ensure a great AV setup
You want a great AV setup to make your event run smoothly and for your guest speaker to succeed, but your guest speaker also wants a great AV set up so they can feel confident and comfortable while they’re delivering their speech.
It’s best to explain this to them in advance. Will they have a handheld microphone or a lapel? Can they roam around the room or will they need to stay at the lectern? Do they have multiple screens or just one?
Often, guest speakers will have preferences as to what they like. It's a great idea to ask this question upfront. Some things might be locked in, but where possible, you can adapt to the speaker's preferences.
Need a guest speaker? See thousands available across Australia
Provide deadlines for their presentation
Sure, the deadline is the event itself. But you don’t want your guest speaker rocking up on the day with a Mac to deliver their speech only to find out you don’t have an adaptor for a Mac.
Ideally, get them to send through their presentation (if they have a video/PowerPoint element) at least 48 hours before the event. This gives you time to test and a backup on event day if something goes wrong.
If they're unable to provide the full presentation, dot points of what they'll be discussing can give you a feel for the content.
Ask for promotional material
Your great guest speaker can help elevate your event on the day, but it can also help promote the event in the lead-up.
Promotional material may include:
- Paragraph summarising their career and presentation
- Videos from previous talks
- Website links
- Social media links
Be clear with how you intend to use this material. Will it be via your email database or through paid advertising. This can impact the guest speakers fee, so ideally, you will have already discussed this during the negotiation.
Nail the logistics
Where do they park at the event?
Do they need to sign in?
Will you be providing food or drinks for them?
These might all seem obvious to you organising the event, but for the guest speaker, they can make a massive to how prepared, comfortable, and ready they feel to deliver.
- If you can, provide a run sheet for the night and details such as:Parking or transport: will they be expected to drive or will they be picked up?
- Arrival and departure time
- Details on the audience
- Confirm how long they’ll be speaking for
- Food and drink details
- Any other requirements for the night
Related: See guest speakers by topic
A clear line of communication is vital to make this happen.
There’s nothing worse for a speaker than being booked and then not having one bit of communication until the event itself. Keep lines of communication clear and consistent. Have one, perhaps two, point of contact for the speaker and keep the channel you communicate on consistent.
Pickstar offers instant messaging between clients and guest speakers - no middle man required. Everything - including the details of the event - is kept in the Pickstar platform along with our chat, making it easy for you and the speaker to refer back to at any point.
Write a great introduction
This part can often get overlooked. It’s easy to say, here’s the speaker and let them launch straight into their talk.
But this is an opportunity to set the stage for the speaker you’ve hired. Don’t tell their entire life story or give away the key points of their speech, but give them the credit they deserve with a short, succinct introduction that tells the audience why the speaker is there, why they’re qualified to speak on the topic you’ve chosen, and anything else you think is vitally important.
We’ve got some great tips for writing an introduction here.
It’s great to say you were great, but it’s even better for a speaker if you can say “you were great because you were able to touch on the points required, engage the audience through a Q&A, provide further reading, and nailed a few jokes to keep the audience involved.” The speaker then understands what, specifically, you were happy with so they can ensure that’s part of future speaking engagements.Equally, if you’re providing some negative feedback, keep it constructive. You were terrible doesn’t help anyone and can often cause friction. “We were disappointed because you arrived late, went over on your allocated time, and then had a few too many drinks” gives the speaker a far clearer understanding of what you were disappointed by.
But ideally, with this guest speaker checklist, you'll avoid having a guest speaker give a sub-par performance!