Whether you’re a new program manager or a very experienced one, your job is crucial to making your organization’s events run smoothly. You wear a lot of hats, and one of them is to make sure that the speaker you’ve booked has everything they need in order to do the best job for you! And if you’re not exactly sure what that is — or you have a good idea but appreciate additional tips — we’re laying it all out for you.
Pay the speaker promptly and as requested.
Your speaker puts many hours in to make sure their presentation is valuable for your audience. Whether it’s a live presentation, an online presentation, or a pre-recorded one, professional speakers do what it takes to deliver the goods and should be paid accordingly. There’s a temptation to think that online talks are easier and should not cost as much — but in many cases, the opposite is true! Your speaker will appreciate that you have their back and value their work when you pay them their requested fee.
Iron out tech kinks ahead of time.
Whether it’s a live presentation or an online one, make sure everyone on your team understands the technology requirements and is ready to roll come presentation time. For online talks (Zoom, for example), practice accessing the chat feature, creating breakout rooms, muting/unmuting participants, and assisting with any glitches.
For live presentations, have microphones ready to go (handheld or lavalier) with a backup in case one stops working, ensure the projector is in good working order, have necessary cables/cords on hand, and a strong WIFI connection.
Practice with your team, and don’t require your speaker to attend a practice session. Or, if you need them to attend, compensate them for it. Your goal? The speaker should be able to simply show up or log in when it’s time to talk!
Share the speaker’s relevant links.
Your speaker has many links for sharing, including links to their websites, social media pages, and email sign up forms. Share them in confirmation emails to attendees, in followup emails after the talk, in your own social media announcements, and in the chat feature for online talks. Your speaker will likely do the same for you — it’s the mutual back-scratching that makes this work so well!
Write a review!
Loved your speaker? Leave a review on Great Garden Speakers! Or write up your glowing review and email it to the speaker so he or she can use it in their own future promotion. Or both! Just as with books, a genuine 5-star review is likely to produce additional bookings for the speaker, and makes you look like the valued professional you are.
Refer the speaker to other program managers.
Want to go a step further? Refer the speaker to other program managers. Email your colleagues (remember to CC the speaker as a way of introducing!) and let the gushing begin: “Stephanie Jones just spoke with our garden club over Zoom and she was amazing! We highly recommend her and encourage you to get in touch with her. She will send you her speaker fees so you’ll know exactly how to plan.” This simple communication accomplishes several things simultaneously:
- Your colleagues will love you and likely return the favor
- Your speaker will love you and speak highly of you to their colleagues
- You have set the tone and expectations that the speaker will need to be paid
And remember, you can also recommend via social media — specify what you particularly appreciated about the speaker, tag them in the post, and include a link to their website or to their Great Garden Speakers page.
Respect the intellectual property of the speaker.
This is a big one, friends! Speakers make their living from, well, speaking (both online and live), so it’s best practice to refrain from requesting to record the talk to re-sell or distribute it. If an organization records and sells/distributes the speaker’s presentation, that speaker now has lost multiple opportunities to connect with other audiences and make their living. If you’re interested in an exclusive recording, by all means, ask the speaker about that — they may agree to it, but it will likely cost closer to $1,500 – $3,000 or more. Be clear and respectful, and your events (as well as your reputation as a program manager!) will thrive!