Guest Blog: Finding the Right Speaker for Your Next Event

by Tom Golden, CFE, CPA


Think back to your college days when you had to suffer through a boring lecture. The professor could have been a Nobel Prize Laureate, but if they lacked communication skills I’d bet you didn’t remember a thing. 

There are any number of purposes for your speaker: to educate, entertain, motivate, etc. There is no doubt that you want a speaker to educate…but, in order for members to learn, they need to be engaged. So, retaining a speaker who has knowledge and industry experience is not enough. If you are charged with finding your chapter’s next speaker, here are some tips to find out if a speaker is engaging: 

  • See them in action – This may not be possible, but try seeing them perform in a video on their website or on YouTube. Subject matter knowledge is important, but the delivery mechanism, and whether they are an entertaining and engaging speaker, are critical.
  • Visit their website – If they don’t have one, this may not be a deal-breaker, but your risk certainly goes up. This is where the next step is critical.
  • Personal recommendation – If the first two steps above don’t pan out, this one is essential — get a recommendation from either a friend, close colleague or another ACFE chapter.

If I were charged with finding a speaker for my group and couldn’t check the box on at least one of these three sourcing steps, I would either look for a different speaker or ask someone else take over the task of finding a speaker. You could always reach out and talk to them, or look at a sample of their slides, but your risk of failure climbs exponentially. Why take that risk? There are enough good to great speakers at reasonable prices that you could find without rolling the dice on an unknown.

Get it wrong and your reputation is damaged; get it right and you will have made a significant step towards a successful and memorable event.

Tom Golden is a retired PwC Partner, ACFE Regent Emeritus, frequent speaker on fraud and is available to speak for local ACFE chapters. You can learn more about Tom here or speak with him at +1 (312) 286-3826.