“Your search engine should be a human,” says Diane Goodman, CMP, president, Goodman Speakers Bureau. “Having an in-depth discussion about your needs for a professional speaker is an essential first step for anyone planning a meeting or event. However, the initial instinct for most people is to hop online to get the search process started.” Here are her top 20 reasons why you should avoid the Internet when searching for a professional speaker:

1. When you Google “professional speakers” you get 52,000,000 results. Do you really have time to sort through all that to find the one best speaker for your event?

2. A speaker’s Web site does what every other Web site on the Internet does—sells. Kind of one-sided, huh?

3. The Internet does not give you the all-important lowdown on whether or not a speaker is actually appropriate for your specific event.

4. Would you trust an online recommendation from “Kathy K. of Houston” when making a $10,000 purchase?

5. How would you know if those online “speaker success stories” are really true?

6. How could you know if those online “speaker horror stories” are really true?

7. There are 28,000 motivational speaker videos on YouTube. They are all “powerful” and “engaging.” Of course they are.

8. The Internet is not known for objectivity.

9. You could spend hours finding the “right” speaker, only to learn he or she is not available on the date of your event.

10. You may fall in love with a speaker … who gave up speaking last month.

11. The best speaker you could ever hear may have a less-than-impressive Web site (odd, but possible).

12. The high-energy speaker you saw in the video might be a slight exaggeration of reality.

13. If your boss demands humor, would you ever think to look for a humorous magician?

14. When every Web site features a “one-of-a-kind” speaker, it’s a little tricky to really find one-of-a-kind.

15. The speaker with the best personal story ever might wilt a little under the spotlight.

16. You may fall in love with a speaker … who just raised his or her rate and won’t negotiate.

17. It’s 8 p.m. and you’re finally home after an exhausting day in the office. It’s the perfect time to start looking at speaker Web sites—because, as you know, the Internet is 24/7.

18. The Internet doesn’t know your budget, or your meeting date, or how to help you prepare an agenda that maximizes your investment in a speaker.

19. You just got ready to start your online search, and then a crisis came up with the venue so you have to put your search off for a few days, and then a problem arises with the VIP reception you have planned, so you have to wait a few more days for your Internet search, then you realize no one ordered the custom polo shirts, so you have to hold off on finding that speaker, and then…

20. If the speaker who is truly best for your event does not come up high on an Internet search result, you’ll never know what you are missing.

Diane Goodman, CMP, is president of the Goodman Speakers Bureau. Contact her at diane@goodmanspeakersbureau.com.

Note: This article was originally published March 2012.