Talk about a tough crowd. When the National Speakers Association selects speakers for its annual conference held July 17 to 20 in Phoenix, it has to impress a particularly discerning audience — the 3,500 professional speakers in the delegation.
So what does the NSA look for in speakers? “Expertise and eloquence,” says Mark Sanborn, president. “We don't just want awith great platform skills, but also expertise and ideas that will directly benefit our members.”
This year a key objective was to showcase the diversity of speaking styles and subjects. The lineup reflects that with Terry Savage, a personal finance expert; Seth Godin, columnist for Fast Company; Larry Winget, “the pit bull of personal development”; and Joe Calloway, a branding authority. Sanborn picks speakers based on programming needs, not celebrity. “The hardest part of our selection process is matching speaker to specific need and getting not just a great speaker but the best speaker.”
For meeting planners, Sanborn has two pieces of advice: one, see a speaker live (or on video) before hiring him or her, and two, don't “stretch” a speaker who isn't the right fit. “I never want to be in front of the wrong audience.”