Sometimes, it’s not that simple to differentiate a bad speaker from a good speaker. Both are usually eloquent, charming and charismatic. They are speakers after all so they’ll be great at convincing you that they can give the best speech.
How do you spot the bad egg from the good one?
If you’ve been given the challenging task of finding the right keynote speaker for an upcoming company event then you may just have your work cut out for you.
Below are some of the traits and characteristics that can help you determine if your speaker is a bad one.
1. He has poor people skills
At the initial meeting, you can size up your speaker immediately by how he relates to you and how he talks to you. Does he make you feel comfortable while he is talking? Is he abrupt and too quick to dismiss your ideas? Does he sound arrogant and act like he already knows what he is doing? Does he use language, which is deemed inappropriate in a professional setting?
These are signs that the speaker is being unprofessional and has poor people skills. His actions and tone at the initial meeting will give you a preview of how he will most likely talk to your audience at the company event.
2. He is often AWOL
Most professional speakers would meet or make contact with their client after the contract has been signed and payments have been made at least 1-2 times before the scheduled event. They’d also give feedback to the client whenever the client asks them how they are progressing. If your speaker suddenly disappears after he got his 50% down payment and won’t answer your calls or emails then you may have a hired a bad egg. No matter how busy a person is, if he values his clients, he will make time to contact you.
3. He does not make inquiries about the event
This is a red flag right here. The speech of a keynote speaker has to be closely tied with the purpose of the event. If he does not even bother to ask what the event is or what he is expected to say then you should be worried.
Good speakers ask about the company’s purpose, who are the target audience, how many people will be in attendance, who are the other speakers and other important information that will make him a more effective speaker at your event. He will be talking, at least in part, about your company so he should know more about it.
4. He has too many props in his presentation
Stipulate in your contract that the speaker will submit a rough draft of his presentation at least 2 weeks before the event. This will give you some time to find a replacement if you find you don’t like his presentation.
His presentation should be neat and orderly. If he uses too many props and his presentation is littered with spreadsheets and irrelevant images then he may not be that effective in giving his speech. Of course how he will deliver his speech still matters, but too much unnecessary elements on the presentation can be confusing and may make the audience lose their focus on the topic.
5. He talks fast
A good keynote speaker should know how to pace his speech and tone so that the audience can grasp the concepts that he is discussing. Before meeting with the speaker, ask him for a sample of his work or search for them online. Most speakers will have their own website showcasing their abilities so ask your potential speaker if he has one. Be your own sleuth and find out how he talks to the audience by attending an event where he is the speaker.
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6. His style does not match your company’s overall image
You wanted to hire a speaker who is well known, but his style of speaking may offend the major shareholders of the company who have traditional views. This does not necessarily mean he’s a bad speaker. It just means that he’s not the right one for your event. No matter how badly you want to hire him if he’s not the right fit, don’t force it.
Bad keynote speakers won’t always exhibit these kinds of behaviors in the first few meetings. Sometimes, it’s not until the event itself that you will find out that you hired the wrong one. To avoid this, always be cautious and learn more about your speaker before hiring him.