Professional Speaker or Celebrity Speaker?

Here is number five in our series of articles about “Top Mistakes People Make When Hiring a Speaker”

Don’t Hire a Celebrity Speaker Unless You’re Ready to Take a Risk.

Very commonly, especially with my association clients, meeting planners love to hire celebrity speakers.  And I admit, there are a couple of very attractive reasons to hire celebrity speakers.  The main reason is to get people to attend the conference.  If you have a big celebrity headlining your keynote, people might be more inclined to attend the conference, which admittedly, is important.

But having said that, my experience, not ever having hired a speaker, but with working with hundreds or thousands of meeting planners who have worked with speakers both professional and celebrity, is that celebrity speakers tend not to deliver.  And if you think about it, this makes sense.  Celebrities are famous for doing something besides speaking.  They are football coaches, they are actors, they are movie stars, they are Olympic gold medalists.  They are not speakers.  And because their business does not depend on them delivering an outstanding keynote, experience tells me that more times than not, they don’t deliver an outstanding speech.

One meeting planner confided to a professional speaker pal of mine, that he hires a celebrity speaker to bring people to the conference and then he hires professional motivational speakers to actually deliver the goods.  Well, this is all fine and good, if you have the budget for both:  an overpriced celebrity speaker, and a top shelf professional speaker.

Hire a Professional Speaker to get your message across

But I suspect at the end of the day, if you think long term, even if you have that extra budget, you’re better off investing in professional speakers.  Why?  Two reasons; first, professional speakers deliver.  If you hire the right person, if you hire the person with experience who has a message that you feel will resonate with your organization or your audience, your professional speaker is paid to deliver.  And that means, not just deliver a speech, but to deliver excellence, to deliver lasting behavior change, and to deliver an experience that your people will remember and talk about long after that conference is over.

The second reason is,  if you think long term,  professional speakers are a better investment than celebrity speakers.  Professional speakers, if they’re any good, will make a huge impact on your audience and that audience, when they are considering whether or not to attend the following year’s conference or convention, will remember the power of that professional speaker much more favorably than they will remember the fact that there was a mediocre, disappointing, but famous speaker, at the conference.

In other words, if you hire a pro speaker, you’re thinking long term and you’re thinking wisely.  You’re realizing that a professional speaker will make a greater impact on your conference than your celebrity speaker.  Hire a professional speaker and you won’t be sorry.  The celebrities are great, but all you need is the autograph and then you can move on.

Are you looking for a professional speaker and don’t need a celebrity?  Hire me! I’d love to be your guy.

Brad Montgomery
Professional Speaker, Fan of Celebrities, Not a Celebrity Speaker

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