03 Oct Choosing the Right Speaker: Aligning Message, Medium, and Audience
Disruption is not just a buzzword — it is a reality. Senior executives driving transformative change in their organisations understand this and their choice of the right speaker for an in-company, or public, gathering needs to reflect that understanding. They’re not looking for just any speaker; they’re seeking a catalyst — a voice that not only informs but also inspires. How then does one choose the right speaker?
Define Your Core Message
Before scanning potential speakers, clarify the exact message you aim to convey. Is it driving for innovation? Encouraging leadership qualities in people? Fostering the difficult process of ongoing culture change? Or maybe that tricky spot at the crossroads of technology and ethics? A well-defined core purpose sets the direction, and makes it easier to discuss the right approach with potential speakers.
Understand Your Audience
Beyond seniority and titles, how are your people “real”? What are their daily challenges? Their long-term goals? Their anxieties? Their long term potential? An executive team comprised mainly of millennials might resonate differently than a group of professionals in their 50s.
The Medium Matters
Is your event in-person, online, or a mix? Each format demands varied speaker skills. Some ignite live audiences with unmatched energy, while others shine in virtual environments, maximising tech and interactive tools. And you can help make the digital stage work well. If your audience is distributed and the talk is being given in a studio, make sure the temperature on stage is not somewhere approaching a beach on a summer’s day. I speak from experience. It can be devastating if the heat which is emitted by a large LED background, or a mass of tungsten lights is not drawn out by an efficient ventilation system.
Past Performances Are Indicative but Not Definitive
Reviewing past talks is useful, but remember, top speakers evolve. They adapt to each audience. Engage them, discuss your event’s goals, and sense their adaptability.
Seek Out Multi-Dimensional Voices
Speakers with diverse experiences, both within and outside their main industry, bring a breadth of insights. They see links between diverse ideas and sectors, presenting a comprehensive viewpoint. It can, and often is, a delightful surprise to see how learnings from one vertical can be imported and adapted in an entirely different one.
Go Beyond the Content
The core message is essential, but how it’s delivered also counts. Do they draw in listeners with personal stories? Use relevant examples? Simplify intricate ideas? The goal isn’t information overload but enlightenment. Speakers who tend overwhelm with data are probably better suited to the role of a detail-oriented consultant. And we must remember that well-known, but often ignored truth that facts alone don’t change minds – dialogue, stories and social interaction do.
The most successful engagements arise from collaboration. The ideal speaker will be open to pre-event dialogues, modifying content to cater to your audience, ensuring the message isn’t just heard, but felt. They thrive on the challenge of really connecting with their audience and delivering value on multiple levels.
With a crystal-clear vision of your aims and audience, the quest of selecting the perfect speaker becomes not just simpler but a great adventure. The right speaker doesn’t just inform — they catalyse transformation, pushing organisations into new realms of accomplishment. Together, they and you, can unearth insights that will, in many ways, enrich the thinking of your team.