What You Need to Know When Booking a Last Minute Speaker

Is time something you wish you had more of right now? Let us guess – you’ve got an event coming up imminently, and the speaker you did have booked has pulled out at the last minute.

Believe it or not, this type of scenario isn’t unusual, and it’s easy to get yourself into a state of panic. But you’ll be relieved to know, your time and effort haven’t been wasted because you can get things back on track. Here’s what you need to know if you’re trying to book a last minute speaker.

One Month Away

Although it may not seem like it, a month can give you plenty of time to replace your headliner. Most professional speakers can prepare speeches within four weeks, and it shouldn’t limit your choice too much either, despite some of the most popular choices having limited availability.

Our advice would be to target your most preferred speakers first but to make sure you have a list of backups just in case.

Two Weeks Away

With only two weeks until your event and still no speaker, it’s time to start picking up that phone and making those calls! However, nothing is impossible. Even though your choices are probably more limited now, it’s still likely you’ll have a decent selection to choose from.

As long as you have a solid brief and set expectations straight away, it shouldn’t be too tricky for your chosen agency to find the perfect headline speaker who fits the bill.

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One Week Away

Okay – you’re allowed to get a little anxious now. However, once the mild panic has calmed down and you’ve wiped that last bead of sweat from your forehead, it’s time to regain focus.

We’re not going to lie, your choices will be limited, but booking a speaker at this point can still be done. You can’t count on a bespoke speech from whoever your saviour is, but do expect them to focus on your themes and fulfil your brief fully.

The Day of the Event

Yes, this can happen! And believe us – we know. We once had to make an emergency booking for a client due to the headline speaker being taken ill earlier that morning. It was Sir Ranulph Fiennes who came to the rescue and was more than happy to step in – which, as you can probably guess, the client was extremely grateful for!

If you have built a good relationship with your agency, they will be understanding of your situation and will do the best they can to find you someone. It may not be the speaker of your choice, but it’s better than nothing, right?

Booking a last minute speaker is something no event organiser would ever want to experience, but it does happen, and there’s no need to panic (easier said than done).

In over 50 years of service, the Gordon Poole Agency has dealt with every situation the industry has to offer, so if we can help, we will.

If you’re looking to book a motivational speaker (that’s not last minute!), then download our free guide which uncovers the 3 steps you need when choosing the right speaker for your event.

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