Quite unfortunately, there is no shortage of people who claim to be experts in business growth, marketing, and strategy. How do you choose the best one for your conference, meeting, or virtual event? The best way is to ask some questions – here are ten to get you started
A tough question, but if the answer is read all of my books, review my (published) national research, and here are example consulting clients, then the person is probably an expert. If the clients are just “speaking” clients, then they probably don’t have much depth. Feel free to read all eight of my books and my published research; happy to share my list of advisory clients as well. And I’ve built companies myself.
There are too many “instant” experts, or people who just took a few courses and called it a day. While they may talk the talk, they don’t have the depth, since expertise comes only with experience. My early career was with KPMG, and left them in the 1990s to become a serial entrepreneur. I have worked on 100+ substantive projects with well-known brands since, and have also built a CEO advisory practice.
If the speaker’s claim to fame is only… their personal fame, then there is no guarantee that their lessons will be transferable to your audience.When choosing a business growth speaker, it should be about you and your results, not them. I have decades of experience developing marketing strategies that include substantive digital integration (enterprise-scale web sites, social media, marketing automation, and CRM), and yes, I’m on Social Media (and have even written books on the topic), but my focus has always been clients and research, not personal profile.
Anyone on your stage should not just be an expert, but also a thought leader. The problem is how to prove it. One of the strongest indicators is a very long history of creating new intellectual property. If they don’t have it, then at best they are a “reporter” for other’s thinking, and can’t add unique value to your conference. Pay attention to their podcast and blog, but also LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. Google them, and see how often they come up, and where they appear. Beyond my weekly blog and weekly podcast, I have 600+ thoughtful article posts, 40 white papers, and over 180 video interviews syndicated across the web. And our national benchmarking research has been used by 100’s of organizations. Check out my digital profile, including my LinkedIn profile, my website, my Amazon author profile, and Google…<
Membership in NSA (for American speakers) or CAPS (for Canadian speakers) means a commitment to professional development, communications excellence, and a commitment to a code of ethics. But beyond this, has the speaker earned the CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) designation, which is held by very few of the world’s professional speakers? And have they been inducted into the Speaking Hall of Fame? I have been a member for many years, and have served at the board level for over a decade. And yes, I have earned the CSP, and have been inducted into the Canadian Speaking Hall of Fame.<
Anyone can get up in front of a crowd and entertain, but audiences already demand more. A true expert adds specificity: their presentations are targeted at specific industries and functional areas to achieve a specific goal. My presentations – and my books – do this. My best audiences are those from service or knowledge-based organizations. Innovators – large and small – also do well.
This separates those who work professionally from those who just “speak”. A huge amount of time must be spent beforehand to research and customize the presentation, so that the meeting objectives are met. Once engaged, I will ask that you fill out a detailed audience questionnaire; I would follow up with a series of interviews with representative audience members and senior managers. I will read annual reports, brochures, industry analysis, and any relevant internal documentation. Finally, the presentation or facilitation will be completely customized with relevant up-to-date examples. And rehearsed.
Read through the speaker’s testimonials, and ask for the speaker’s “one-sheet” – their credentials. Is their client list filled with credible names? Finally, satisfy yourself with the speaker’s references, either through online testimonials, or by asking for the reference’s contact info. Check out my testimonial page, download my one-sheet, read more on my LinkedIn page, or ask me for references – happy to help.
Experts are recognized by their peers – not by themselves – for the impact of their work at an industry level. Beyond their certifications, ask about their national-level awards. I am one of the few who are both a Fellow of the management consulting profession (FCMC), and an inductee into the Canadian Speaking Hall of Fame. And one of only 25 people awarded the Griner award by the CSAE for my impact on the association/not-for-profit sector in Canada.
Good question, but dig deeper: How many years, how many presentations, largest audience, studio set-up options, failover capability, etc. I’ve done 100’s of virtual presentations over the last 15 years – my largest audience was over 4000. And my virtual studio has high-speed gigabit connectivity, redundant connections, and multiple studio set-up options: talking head, standing keynote, boardroom meeting, etc. (I am also certified as a Virtual Presenter by eSpeakers.) I am often asked to discuss the pros and cons of alternative platforms, formats, etc – I’ve worked with many.
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Includes Digital Strategy for Event Planners, Audience Engagement with Twitter Walls and Chat, You’re on Camera! Delivering Video that Works, and Randall's credentials.
Randall's expertise and experience in all areas of strategic communication, marketing, web and social media is remarkable in its breadth and depth.
Randall has a gift of being able to take complex processes and make them understandable and applicable. Our participants raved about the incredible quality and clarity of his message.
Randall Craig has that rare combination of subject matter expertise and performance excellence. He is authentic on stage, smart, and makes the complicated simple. He made effective use of the "Hot Seat" - something only a real expert should even attempt… and he qualifies in spades. Highly recommended.