One of the best things any company can do to impact their bottom line, especially during tough economic times, is to bring in a professional speaker or coach to work with your staff. Offering a seminar to your employees can go a long way toward increasing productivity, sales and overall performance.

In the past, companies invested in new and better equipment in order to be competitive and gain an edge in the marketplace. Today, your people are your most valuable asset, so an investment in upgrading their performance is a prudent move, one that will pay for itself many times over.

In addition to the obvious benefits of increased motivation, performance, skills and, as is the case for salespeople and customer service reps, more business, there are the not-so-obvious benefits of improved morale.

This is of particular importance in a company who has experienced layoffs and downsizing. By giving your employees seminars and other performance improvement services, such as coaching, you demonstrate your company's commitment to their success, which translates into more success for the company. People feel valued and appreciated which, in turn, encourages them to value and appreciate the company more.

So, just how do you go about choosing the ideal presenter to hire?

Shop locally for better deals
For starters, many budget conscious company's today are looking more and more to local speakers for their events. In addition to saving the added expense of travel and lodging, many professional speakers charge lower rates for local engagements. A good way to begin your search is to add your city's name to your search for "motivational speaker. " For example, you might enter, "affordable motivational speaker new jersey" as your search term.

Read what other's have said
Next, read the speaker's Web page looking, in particular, for testimonials. What others have said about a speakers performance is the best endorsement.

Don't get discouraged by the Web site
When reading sample seminar topics on a speaker's Web site, keep in mind that most will customize their presentation to meet the needs of your audience. If you do not see exactly what you need, don't worry. Chances are the speaker will create a program to match your criteria.

Is the speaker you're considering an author or in some way perceived as a celebrity? Authors bring added value and can add to the impact of your event. This is of particular importance with groups who need to be enticed to attend the event.

Ask what else might be included.
For example, an author may "sweeten" the deal by offering a special price on their book or even packaging it into the fee. Would they include a couple of follow-up coaching sessions in the deal?

Ask if they will deliver a breakout session for less cost.
I once delivered a morning keynote to the management of a small business and then a shorter training session for the sales force after lunch. Since I was "all dressed up" and already there, we were able to agree on a combined fee that fit the clients budget nicely. Often, a speaker will include a short breakout session as part of the package or at a greatly reduced cost. Personally, since my main goal is to have satisfied clients, I'm pretty flexible, especially if it's a local event.

Ask permission to record the event.
Having a permanent copy of the speakers program is quite valuable since new employees can gain access to the information and your existing staff can use it as a refresher.

Will the speaker barter a portion of their fee?
Depending on your industry, you may be able to trade a portion of the speaker's fee for your product or service. A good example of this is, obviously, a resort hotel or even an top notch restaurant. Speakers like to travel and eat too:-)

Regardless of where or how you find a motivational speaker, bringing someone in to improve the performance of your employees is an investment that will pay for itself many times over and is a smart business decision in this challenging economy.

Author's Bio: 

Jim Donovan, is an internationally published author and affordable motivational speaker who offers programs and services to help your company prosper in today's challenging economic climate. To learn how Jim can help your business, visit