by Diane Goodman, CMP | December 01, 2013
The following checklist was compiled by Diane Goodman, CMP, president of the Goodman Speakers Bureau (goodmanspeakersbureau.com) in Windsor, Conn. Planners should consider the following before collaborating with a speakers bureau; such information can be a great aid to both the bureau and the speaker.

Key logistical elements
• What is the name, date and location of your meeting?

• How flexible are the date and time, should you want to hire a specific speaker?

• How often is your meeting held?

Audience Demographics
• How many attendees do you expect?

• What are their titles and education backgrounds? What company divisions to they represent?

• What is the age range?

• What is the male-to-female ratio?

Senior leader perspectives
• What books are your senior leaders reading?

• What challenges are your industry, organization and/or audience facing?

• What personal interests inspire your executive team? Are they fans of a particular sport? Are they strictly business in the workplace, or have they demonstrated an interest in humor, creative thinking, music or science?

Meeting objectives
• What is the overall objective or purpose of the meeting?

• Does the meeting have a strategic message or program theme?

• Can you relate the theme directly to a particular kind of speaker or speaking style? For instance, would the theme be relevant to a recognized business leader, industry expert, celebrity or sports figure? Does the theme lend itself to a style that is motivational, humorous, interactive or educational?

• How will the meeting structure communicate the theme or message?

• Where on the agenda would the speaker be most effective?

Expectations of the speaker
• In what way do you expect the speaker to reinforce the meeting's theme or message?

• Is there an ideal takeaway you'd like the attendees to get from the speaker's presentation?

• What would you like the speaker to do, if anything, in addition to delivering the presentation? Are you interested in a book signing, question-and-answer session, attendance at a reception or follow-up webcast?

• How important do you feel the speaker's role is with respect to the meeting's success?

• What are your budget parameters, and are they in line with what value you are placing on the speaker's contribution to the meeting's success?

Past experiences
• Who is the best speaker you've had in the past, and why?

• Who was the worst speaker you've had, and why?

• If your first speaker choice were unavailable, how significantly would that affect your meeting? Would it lessen interest from potential attendees, upset executives or alter the agenda you've developed?