The Secret to Making Your Way to the Decision Makers Short List and Getting the Gig

As a speaker, you should always be looking to secure the next gig. To do that, you need to figure out how to stand out from the competition so you can make your way to the decisions makers short list. From there, it is all about properly showcasing what you have to offer, so there is no doubt you are the right person to hire for the job.

Most professional event planners and organizers have a set process they go through, regardless of whether they are booking one or several speakers for an event. To make it to the shortlist, you need to understand this process so you can make a great and lasting impression.

First, they will decide on the criteria for their speaker and the topic(s).

Next, they will start to develop a long list of perhaps 6-10 speakers that fit the criteria they set.

From there, they will comb through the marketing assets of each candidate (website, bio, one-sheet, video’s, etc.) and cut the list back to just 2 or 3.

As a final decision step, they may try to get each candidate onto a conference call with other key event individuals or committee members for an interview. For the speaker, this is a pivotal moment and the opportunity to convince them to narrow the list to one – YOU.

Wondering what some of the criteria a decision maker looks for in their short list candidates, and ultimately their final choice, might be? Here are a few things they might be looking for:

  1. Don’t embarrass me. Although you may not hear this out loud, the decision maker might be thinking, “my butt is on the line here, do a good job, hit the key ideas we have discussed and most importantly, don’t make me look bad!” So don’t.
  2. Strike the cord. The committee or individuals have a purpose for this meeting. It is your job to know what the purpose is, what the theme is, why they are considering hiring you and ultimately what they are trying to achieve. There may be some planners who are unclear about these things but do your best to find out this information beforehand. (We often do this with pre-program questionnaires, see Chapter 7, page 240 in The Wealthy Speaker 2.0 for a sample).
  3. High energy. Working six years under the roof of a speaker’s bureau, we got the call many, many times for a speaker who has “high energy.” Nobody is booking a snoozefest. The best way for “high energy” to come across is through video, so ensure that your demo shows you engaging the audience energetically. Sometimes the energy in the room is difficult to capture on video, but have patience; you will get it eventually.
  4. Topic specific. This is where you may get tempted to step outside of your lane. A prospect calls and says they are looking for a speaker on topic ABC, but that is not a topic you cover. What do you do? In a perfect world, you refer them to someone who is a good fit and get the business the following year. Alternatively, you try to sway them over to your topic instead. Sometimes saying no to the wrong topic is simply the best choice. If you cannot deliver what the client needs, don’t let fear take over and put you in front of the wrong audience with the wrong topic.

Getting to the short list, and then knocking it out of the park when you do get chosen is always the goal. By understanding how the process works, you can better equip yourself to book the business.

See you soon Wealthy Speakers!

Jane Atkinson

Womens powerhouse business booster

  • Sol Ballard

    LOVED THE TIPS! SUPER HELPFUL. THANK YOU!

    • speakerlauncher

      Thanks Sol, I’m glad to hear it!