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How To Hire A Speaker
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Motivational Keynote Speakers For Events, Conferences and Conventions
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Claremont, CA 91711
Hiring A Speaker For International Meetings - What To Tell Your Speakers Before They Leave The States
Fees: Are fees quoted in US or foreign currency?
Products: Will the speaker's products be allowed into the country in question? If yes, how much is being added on by Customs? Sometimes it's 200% of the price of the product! It may be much better to reproduce the product overseas. Labor is usually cheaper than in the States and you don't pay Customs or Entry tax.
Visas: Does the speaker need one? What are the requirements? Ask the appropriate Consulate. Any travel agent can tell you how to get in touch with the correct Consulates here in the US.
Time Changes: Don't expect the speaker to get off the plane and perform the next day. Give them at least two days, some may need more.
Mailing Materials: "Sure, it'll be there in 5 days." You've got a good chance of mailed items arriving within 5 days of posting if you are mailing to first world countries. Third world countries take 12 days for a first class letter. If it looks bigger than a letter, regardless of the class, give it a month or more.
"Overnight" to the third word means about 5-7 days. "Surface Rate," slow boat that says will get there in 6-8 weeks is a delusiongive it at least 4 months (no kidding!)
Whenever possible, fax. It is a god-send when working with overseas connections.
Travel arrangements: Problems can arise if you need overseas sponsors to pay some of your speaker's expenses and fees. Sometimes they have problems getting funds out of their country, so they may need to pay for speaker's airfare within their own country. This usually means your travel agent in the US cannot handle travel arrangements. Instead, you deal directly with the airlines that also have offices in the foreign country.
Be very clear about which class of service your speakers will fly. Right now a restricted coach fare to Australia is about $800. Business class is over $4,000.
Baggage: Let them know weight limits, special tags, all custom clearance points they will be expected to go through, and procedure for reporting items through.
Clothing: Dress requirments for the country.
Medical: If your speaker is going into the bush, like on a Game Drive or Safari, they will need malaria pillsquinine, in many countries. Your doctor can tell you what other vaccinations your speakers will need. You may find it much less expensive and simpler to let the speaker get their shots in the country itself. I needed a yellow fever shot for one country I was visiting. $75 in the US, "give us 3 weeks to order the vaccine," but in Africa it was $2 and "drop by any time." The countries that are having the problems actually have the vaccines on hand. It's been awhile since we've had an epidemic of malaria in Los Angeles.
Language and culture: Let your speakers know which language the attendees speak. Are translators being used?
Often the terms they use overseas are different. A bromide is a what we call a velox or sometimes copy-ready art. A CV, or vita, is short for curriculum vita ( we call it a "bio"), in other words the background information on the speaker.
Address and Telephone numbers of hotel and hosts: Customs Officials will usually require the address and phone of the venue where you have housed your speaker. Make sure they know they must carry it with them.
Security: If the area has special problems, ie: highway robbery as in Brazil and Rome, advise of the best way to safeguard themselves.
Legal: Give them the address of the Consulate, and phone numbers. Include law enforement policies and procedures if detained or arrested.
Spending Money in the Third World: Example: In Zimbabwe, if you exchange your traveler's checks in the hotel or a bank, they will give you $2 Zimbabwe for every $1 US. So, for your $10 US you get $20 Zimbabwian bills to spend on the street. But, if you used a good old American $10 greenback and spend it directly on the street, you could buy $100 in Zimbabwian goodies. Most third world economies are facing terrible inflation and economic problems, their currencies are hopeless! Sometimes you can't even pay your hotel bill in the country's own currency, you must pay in US currency. Please advise your speakers to be discreet if they plan on spending US bills directly on the streets of foreign countries. This is definitely "black market" and frowned upon by foreign officials. Wouldn't be much fun sending Christmas cards to your speakers via a Zimbabwe jail!
Meetings overseas are wonderfully exciting. But, before sending speakers and attendees overseas for your meetings, ask questions! Call the Consulate, the Health Department and the US State Department for the correct information about the country.
Lilly Walters - for over 20 years a LEADING RESOURCE helping Corporate and Association Meeting Planners find the PERFECT speakers and entertainers for their events. Former leading executive of Walters International Speakers Bureau. Today she owns and runs Amazing Motivational Keynote Speakers and helps speakers and seminar leaders find ways to increase their bookings