Guest speakers are nice to have because they add an air of importance to a meeting or conference. But hiring just anyone, or making mistakes when you hire, is not very helpful. Instead, follow a few tips to be sure you're hiring someone who will stand out with his or her speech.

Know Where You Want It to Go

Are you hiring a speaker to motivate workers? Tie the speech in with research? Or something else? Know what you want the overall end result to be for someone listening to that speaker. That will give you a better way to describe what you want when you arrange the topic with the speaker. If you don't, the speech could seem strangely disconnected from the rest of the event.

Avoid Meals

Person talking on stage or tasty chicken on plate in front of you? Which gets your attention first? Chances are, for many attendees, the chicken (or any other food you have out) will interfere with their attention to the speaker. Schedule talks away from mealtimes so that you don't have people trying to eat during the talk. Try also to avoid scheduling right before or after a meal break because then you'll have either hangry or food-sedated attendees in the audience. Neither of those conditions are good for concentration.

Don't Try to Pressure Them to Lower Fees

You aren't going to get a fully effective speech from them if you do. You'll get a good speech, one that fits the purpose of the event, but unless there's a special reason why you need the speakers to lower their fees (e.g., this is for charity), you'll get effort commensurate with pay. Sometimes a little negotiation with the speaker's agent is acceptable, but don't try to strongarm the agent into accepting a lower fee. Your audience will appreciate getting the full benefit of the speaker's knowledge.

Preview Snippets of the Topic

Get preview videos from your speaker so that you can use those to help drum up more interest in the talk. Your audience may respond better if they have some idea of the topic so they can start formulating questions now, rather than during the speech when they might stop paying attention.

Professional speakers and their agents can work with you to set up a fair contract that is easy to understand. Give your audience a treat by hiring a guest speaker to really get a point across. For more information, contact companies like eSpeakers.