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Booking a professional speaker for your next conference or event can seem overwhelming, and it is a decision that will determine not only the success of a conference but also the success of an organisation's culture, performance and productivity long after the event is over.


In booking a world-class speaker, it is vital you are armed with the tools to select an expert who meets the specifics of your brief, inspires an audience, all while delivering an engaging presentation onstage. To assist you in speaker selection we have created a hot list to ensure you select the right speaker, with the right message…every time.


Finding the best speaker requires research and preparation. To get started it is a great idea to allow yourself plenty of time in the lead up to the event, and to prepare what is called a speaker brief. In that brief, make sure you include the purpose of booking the speaker and outline the problem that needs solving. Write a list of questions. Do you have a thorough understanding of the organisation booking the speaker, the nature of the event, the event theme and audience details? What is your budget, and are there any other parameters that will influence your decision?

“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose”
- Zora Neale Hurston


Once you have completed your research and prepared a clear brief, it is helpful to source an expert to support you in making the right decision. In seeking out a consultant look for someone with credibility, product knowledge, and a commitment to finding you the perfect speaker match. Make time to talk to the consultant on the phone or in person. A great consultant will be your primary support and someone whose opinion you need to trust.

As the Chief of Creative Solutions at Ovations my focus is to uncover what a client needs to solve a problem, create a transition or to transform an audience. I am all about authenticity in my relationships, because I want to really understand how in partnership we can create a magical message
- Rebecca Tapp


If you are working with a great consultant, you can be assured that they will provide you with a list of relevant speakers. Your proposal should include links to speaker profiles, testimonials and footage of each speaker in action on stage. Ask the consultant to provide you with their personal thoughts as they may offer key insights based on their experience. Share the proposal with your colleagues, ask for feedback and select your top three speakers from the list.


Once you have decided who your top three speakers are you have a right to request further support. It may be helpful to coordinate a phone call with the speakers, or to ask them to prepare a written or video proposal. Through this process, you will get a feel for the style, tone and energy of the speaker in addition to how they will approach your brief. You will find with the support of your consultant this process will reveal who the right speaker is to wow your audience, create a fantastic event, while ensuring you also look like a rock star.


Once you have made your decision about which speaker you would like to book it is time to kick back, relax and let your preferred speakers bureau do the work. From contracting, to accounts, logistics to pre-event meetings and promotion, your consultant will provide you everything you need to ensure that your experience of booking a speaker is seamless.

Feel free to ask as many questions as you need especially concerning the contract details. Your consultant is there to support you in understanding all aspects of the booking, and to assist with anything you need from the speaker. Make sure you also ask for additional information on workshops, topics, video programmes and books as these tools are designed to provide ongoing learning long after the event and may be valuable resources post event.

A massive thank you to you both for all your assistance from selecting to co-ordinating the speakers for our annual ProLoan conference. Feedback was that this year’s speakers where the best they had EVER heard at ANY event. So this is pretty amazing, because they do go to a lot of sessions like these.

Director of Network Relationships - Proloan (aust) pty ltd

Again this year you and your team have been fantastic and extremely helpful.  In regards to you Sharm, you have been an absolute star and phenomenal help with our speakers and presenters, a great communicator, wealth of knowledge and so prompt with responding and looking at ways to cater to our needs.

Event Manager Fitness Australia

I would recommend, without hesitation, the services of Jane Rowland Smith and Ovations. Jane answered a last minute call to arrange a guest speaker for our principals. Nothing was too much effort, all was arranged within hours, and went very smoothly. The guest speaker was exactly what we required and our brief was followed. Thank you Jane and the team at Ovations.

Executive Director of Schools Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta

All aspects of the process has always gone seamlessly with Ovations and we will continue to seek your assistance for the awards in the coming years.

Thank you again, your help has meant that our Awards are very professional and extremely well received by our members and guests.

Executive Assistant BSCAA NSW Division

Jane, I personally want to thank you for all of your support, advice, patience and all round kindness that you have given me over the last 3 or so years.  This event would not have been as successful without the valuable MC’s you have recommended and the support you provided me when it all just seemed too hard

Shona Dilley – Smart School Awards, Department of Education
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