Marquis Athletes

August 17, 2010

Tips for Successful Speaker Events

You’ve decided to hire a motivational speaker for your next event to inspire your staff and/or customers, but if you’ve never worked with a speaker, you’re probably thinking–now what? You want your event to be a success, and you don’t want to walk away from the event thinking you made a mistake–or worse wasted your company’s resources on the event. Here’s some tips to help make your event a success:

1. If you haven’t already hired a speaker, work hard to make sure you’ve hired a great one!  Sounds simple, but not all speakers are created equal–ask for references, ask for a copy of the speech on DVD, ask how often they get repeat business (and ask for one of those companies as a reference).

2. Plan your event early! If you’re scrambling at the last minute, you’re more likely to forget important details.

3. Know your program materials (or just the message you want to convey in the event) and provide this information to your speaker. Ask them to weave your message or company ideals into their speech. Set up a conference call with the speaker a week before the event to go over your key points–this will help tie the entire event together, and a great speaker will do this seamlessly within their existing speech.

4. Have a back-up plan in mind–things happen, you want to be prepared! Have an alternate speaker in mind (preferably someone local). A great speaker won’t just cancel on your event (they’ll be contractually obligated to attend), but that doesn’t mean an accident can’t happen on the way to the airport, or the week before. You’ll also want to book the flight for the speaker to allow time for the inevitable airport delays, traffic en route to your event, etc.

5. Ask your speaker how long their speech is, whether they allow Q&A and what their policy is on autographs–great speakers can tweak the length of their speech to fit your event, you can organize Q&A ahead of time to make it run smoothly (i.e., by having people submit questions in advance, then your planning team can just pick the best ones) and great speakers will make sure your attendees get autographs (many speakers will walk away at the end of a set time period, whether there are people in line or not).

What other ideas have helped make your events a success?

–Danielle Marquis, Owner, Marquis Athletes, LLC

Marquis Athletes, LLC is a sports management firm representing retired Olympic athlete and motivational speaker Rulon Gardner. For more information on events with Rulon, contact us at


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