Could your school benefit from an inspiring and motivational speaker? As the new academic year gets underway along with a fresh set of challenges and goals to reach for, a visit from an inspirational expert could be the ideal way to get everyone pulling in the right direction.
Whether you’re a student looking for a performance boost, a parent who wants to help your child succeed, or a teacher who thinks your school could do with a constructive nudge in the right direction, a guest speaker can help you achieve your aims.
Kevin Mincher, Unstoppable Teen’s founder, has presented more than a thousand seminars in 250+ schools, colleges and universities over the last two decades. Over 300,000 students, teachers and parents have attended his performance coaching programmes. He’s learned a lot about what makes a good school speaker and has identified common mistakes you need to void if you want to invite a guest to speak at your school
How do you identify the right speaker for your school? Here are Kevin’s top tips:
1. What are your aims and objectives for your event?
Before you even start your search for the right school speaker, get clear about who the audience will be and what you want them to gain from the experience. Do you want to help younger students become more independent learners, increase the motivation and confidence levels of challenging students, or help older pupils perform at their best in tests and exams? Whatever your aim, have it clearly defined from the outset because it will help you identify the right expert for your school.
2. What are your resources?
It’s essential you know how much time and money can be devoted to the event. Some schools speakers specialize in short high-impact presentations (10 to 60 minutes), whist others deliver incredible trainings that are much longer (90 minutes to a full day). What are you looking for and on which date do you want it? The best school speakers tend to have busy diaries because they are in high demand, which means you might need to be flexible with your preferred date when you come to book them.
Also think about how much you can afford to spend. Some people are happy to volunteer their time to school, but you’ll need to pay professional school speakers because it’s their career and it’s how they earn a living. Just like most things in life, you tend to get what you pay for, so the best school speakers are likely to charge more than those who are average or not very good.
3. Draw up a shortlist of suitable speakers
You want the best for your school, so take your time to do some research and don’t rush your decision. It’s important to get the most effective speaker who can deliver your aims and objectives. We recommend you pick your shortlist of speakers based on how they have performed in schools in the past. Watch videos of them in action, listen to their podcast, get recommendations, references and testimonials.
All of this will help you make the right decision and feel confident you’ve got the right person before you invite them to speak at your school. A good school speaker will be able to provide you with all of the above information before you book them. If they can’t give you these details you might want to look elsewhere.
4. Interview your shortlisted candidates by phone
This is your chance to find out if a speaker has the right values, messages and personality for your school. Are they going to produce the results you want, or are they just turning up for the money? Use your time on the phone to ask challenging questions that will enable you figure out if they are the right fit for your community. If you have any doubts, don’t book them. It’s their responsibility to convince you they will do a brilliant job at your event. If they can’t do that on the phone, they probably won’t do it in person.
5. How will you know if the event was successful?
Make sure you know how you’re going to evaluate the impact of the event. Do you want to see an improvement in attendance, behaviour and grades? Or do you just want to see smiles on students’ faces and notice a buzz around school? No one outcome is more important than the other but knowing before hand will help you to pick the right speaker based on their assurances and willingness to be held accountable for the outcomes they produce.
6. What supporting resources will the speaker provide after the event?
One-off events are great for raising awareness of important issues, but they rarely create lasting changes to habits. That’s why it’s important to ask your candidates what learning resources they will provide for you to use after they have gone. Are they just going to do a speech, then disappear? Or will they go the extra mile for you by providing regular newsletters, blog articles, podcasts, social media posts, online videos or other resources you can use in assemblies and follow up lessons. Poor speakers will take your money and run. The best will go out of their way to add value over the long-term.
7. Does the speaker have a money-back guarantee?
Invariably, schools speakers are paid with taxpayers’ money, which makes it a privileged position that must be taken seriously. You can’t afford to waste your budget on a poor speaker. Good school speakers aren’t cheap, but they are happy to be held accountable for the quality of their performance. That’s why we recommend you only book speakers who are happy to put their money where their mouth is.
For twenty years Kevin has provided a money back guarantee to the schools he works with. In other words, if you’re not happy with his performance, you don’t have to pay him – it’s that simple. This policy gives you great confidence that he’s going to show up and perform at his best for you every time you book him. Make sure any school speaker you book has a money back guarantee and holds themselves to the same high standards.
You are now armed with the right information to put on an inspirational event at your school. Good luck, and don’t forget to ask for those follow-up resources to keep everyone moving in the right direction!