Self-Proclaimed Experts vs The Real Thing

By Kimberley King

What makes a speaker an expert? According to Malcom Gladwell, a Canadian journalist, bestselling author, and speaker, says that one becomes an expert after 10,000 hours of practicing his or her craft. When searching for a speaker for your next event, be cautious of the self-proclaimed speakers, who may be good at what they do, but lack the experience and knowledge of the real expert you are paying for. Here are some tips on spotting a self-proclaimed expert from the real thing.

Staying Current

When looking at a new speaker one of the first things that catches my eye is to see how current they are with their website and marketing materials. You want to have a sense that this speaker is ‘active’ and in continuous improvement mode.  Yes, we all can fall down sometimes with keeping materials fresh. But when it comes to professional speakers, having an outdated head shot, super old video (to the point where you can spot the decade by the clothes they are wearing) or testimonials  from 7 years ago sends a bad message.  When you see a site that is fresh and well cared for– you feel more confident in digging deeper into the speaker and his/her messages.

Powerful Testimonials

Carefully reviewing a  speaker’s testimonials is a great way to check out a speaker. . Research the feedback received and you will begin to see if the speaker engages his/her audience or not. I love to see very detailed testimonials that really demonstrate how enthusiastic and passionate they are about the speaker. I know how hard it is to get a testimonial out of the most satisfied clients–people are busy!  So when you see a good amount of high quality, thoughtful testimonials you know you are on a good track with the speaker.   A testimonial for an expert speaker should be accompanied by a credible individual/company that experienced the speakers presentation.  You can also ask to call one of these companies to provide a personal reference for the speaker.

Great Conversations

A website tells a lot, but talking to your speaker directly is key.   Once we know that a speaker is available, their fees are within the budget,  and they have the required expertise, we connect everyone together for a 30-60 min call.  You can tell a lot from the call.  The speakers, tone, confidence, knowledge of the subject and willingness to customize.  Always take the time to have a chat with your speaker before you sign off on the enagement.

Getting Social

Social media is another great place to get a sense of the speakers voice.  The first stop should be LinkedIn…then Facebook, and Twitter. Pay attention to how active the speaker is and what content he/she is putting out. An expert speaker is a professional in every part of his image, so look for content that is more than just  personal posts.  An expert speaker is aware that social media is a promotional tool for his/her messages they want delivered… they will post topics, events that are upcoming, and give praise to others in the industry.

It’s takes time to research and select the perfect speaker.  One of the benefits of working with a speakers bureau is that we know our speakers and their strengths because of the relationship and the experience we have with them. The internet delivers information. We deliver custom solutions to our clients’ challenges.