As my career has developed as a speaker I have come to believe that there are four main categories of speaker in the market place. By “speakers” I am talking about people who perform at conferences and conventions across the globe, playing a specific role in the event. Herein lies the graveyard of many events where they make a fatal error of not deciding what that role should be. Is it simply to fill in some time during the event? Will the speaker be delivering the key new global strategy or are they there to rebuild the confidence of the team after extreme cuts?
Before a speaker can be chosen the objective outcomes of the event must be understood in order to get the best balance between in-house personnel, quality in-house speakers and external professional speakers and moderators. I make the differential here between in-house personnel and in-house speakers because we have all been to conferences where someone has been given the perceived “poison chalice” and had to get up and speak – they are so uncomfortable, unprepared and clearly do not want to be there. I believe the split between these two types of in-house speaker is at least 80:20, which is why there is such a huge opportunity and market for professional speakers.
My four categories of speaker are as follows:-
(Please note that these are stated in their broadest terms and are not meant to be all encompassing)
1. The Entertainer: ranging from the after-dinner speaker to the performer, magician or comedian – their role is primarily to entertain and have fun.
2. The Content Speaker: more often than not these are the speakers, who are driving home a message, either business or technology or theory related – their role is to engage and educate.
3. The Motivational Speaker: – someone who has achieved great things, regularly these are ex-sporting heroes or celebrities who share their tale – their message can often be “get off your backside and get on with it”.
4. The Inspirational Speaker: -one step further than the Motivational Speaker. Their personal story, often tragic, is their inspiration to get on with life and to coin a phrase from one of the best Inspiration Speakers I have ever had the pleasure to meet W Mitchell ‘It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it’.
Most speakers will fit partly into all of these categories but will have a leaning towards one particular category. I come under the category of Content Speaker. My objective is to get audiences to look at what they are doing in their personal and professional lives and as a result of hearing me talk they go away and improve their productivity and reduce their faffing about.
“My passion is productivity; one of my greatest frustrations in life is seeing talent and opportunities go to waste because of faffing about.”