Working with a speaker can give your attendees one of two experiences: A great one will make your meeting memorable, and a bad one will, too. Do what you can to avoid the latter.

Most importantly, take time to see the speaker in action. Word of mouth isn't always reliable; you need to get a sense of what he or she is about.

Speaker Susan RoAne offers these additional tips for making sure your speaker experience works out:

  • If the speaker is planning on using handouts, make sure they're educational in nature, not promotional.

  • Thinking about having a best-selling author speak? Get references. Many are excellent — even more are not. Make sure that the author can deliver a successful program.

  • Push for an early arrival. You don't want to be worrying minutes before the meeting whether your speaker is going to show up. Insist that a speaker arrive early enough so that you are not given cause to worry.

  • A speaker who is difficult at the beginning rarely gets easier to work with. Beware and be aware.

  • Let speakers know which events at your meeting they're invited to attend.