Best Practices for Booking Speakers

I thought that I would make a few suggestions about handling speakers, from a speaker's perspective.

  1. Book early and offer choice of dates.
    A year ahead is not too soon, especially for the “big names”.
  2. Be clear ahead of time how expenses will be reimbursed, especially if the speaker is driving. If flying, let the speaker book their travel.
  3. A club has the right to dictate the topic of the talk, assuming it is a topic the speaker is qualified to do.
    With many months notice, a speaker should be able to meet the club's need.
  4. An honorarium— in my opinion— is not necessary, and—in my case— is not asked for.
    When offered, however, an honorarium will not be refused (it is rude to turn it down). The few speakers who do charge a speaking fee do so because talks are a part of their income.
  5. Weekday meetings are harder to do than weekend meetings, especially for speakers who have jobs.
    In my case, I do not have a job, but my wife will need to arrange to be home for the kids.
  6. Maximize your dollar... get two talks from a speaker.
    Share a speaker with a nearby club. This offers club members have a choice too, in case they cannot make the regular meeting.
  7. Let the speaker bid and buy fish at the mini-auction.
    We are trying to support your club.
  8. Be understanding if a speaker cannot bring fish to donate.
    When I can I bring a lot, but travel restrictions today often prevent fish from being brought to the meeting.
  9. Make it clear when you book a speaker if it is ok if they sell fish for delivery at the meeting.
    I get requests to do that a LOT, but I feel bad about it unless the club says they do not mind.
  10. Choose your speaker or program chair carefully.
    That person needs to be very good about responding to communication from the speaker. 

Ted Judy is a frequent speaker on the aquarium circuit. Here he offers his thoughts on how to book speakers and some things to consider.