Experienced, professional genealogy speakers can make or break your upcoming event. If you are a programming chairperson, committee member or otherwise involved in the selection of genealogy speakers for your society, library, conference or other group — please take a few moments to read this page. A little time spent now can be a tremendous amount of time and money saved between now and the date of your event!
Are all genealogy speakers the same?
Simply put, NO! There is a great deal more to being an effective genealogy speaker beyond knowledge of the subject matter. Certainly an understanding of the topic is critical, but so too is the ability to prepare and deliver that content in a meaningful, informative, and even entertaining way. You might be surprised to learn that for a typical 90-minute presentation, a professional genealogy speaker will often spend at least as much time, if not twice or three times that amount of time, preparing for the session. Certainly the time requirements might be less if it's a presentation that has been delivered dozens of time previously, but the best genealogy speakers will review their content each time, making updates and refinements to the slides for each and every event.
An example which may work well in one area of the country or world may completely miss the mark with an audience hundreds or thousands of miles away. This is precisely the type of thing a good genealogy speaker will be anticipating prior to speaking at your event.
What should I expect from a professional genealogy speaker?
Expectations will vary depending upon the differences of each event, but there are certainly some core elements which you should reasonably expect from a high-caliber genealogy speaker. They include the following:
» Firm grasp on the subject matter for which you and your audience are interested
» Mastery of public speaking — good pace, volume, and eye contact
» Ability to handle questions from the audience without disrupting established agenda
» Keeping the entire audience in mind at all times (e.g. - repeat the question, then answer for benefit of all)
» Appears at the established time, prepared in advance, ready to go
» Anticipates disaster and has a backup plan so your event does not suffer (e.g. - The Show Must Go On!)
» Comfortable with a range of technology options (e.g. - laptop computers, projectors, sound systems, etc.)
How can I find and select the right genealogy speaker?
This may sound tricky, but is actually far easier than you might think. The first thing you must consider is the date and content for your event. If you're looking for a genealogy speaker to present at an Irish Festival in mid-March (timed around a St. Patrick's Day Celebration), then you have already narrowed your pool of potential genealogy speakers. That is an important first step, both for you and for the potential speaker. When approaching a potential genealogy speaker, one of the first things you should confirm is their availability for your specific date, as well as their expertise for the subject you wish to be covered.
Most professional genealogy speakers will be happy to refer you to another capable speaker they may know of if they are unavailable on a certain date or not expert in your topic of interest.
Once you have confirmed the date and content, you should verify that the speaker fees, travel expenses, and any other costs are within the budget for your event. Then ask for references! All professional genealogy speakers will be pleased to provide you with a list of previous hosts — either local, regional, national or international conferences, workshops, classes, webinars or other format. You can then choose one or more that most closely match the event that you are planning.
In addition to being a leading genealogy speaker, Dan is also an award-winning genealogy author. Below is a comment from well-known industry insider, Dick Eastman.
"Dan Lynch has written an excellent new book called 'Google Your Family Tree.' I have a pre-release copy of the book and can tell you that it is top-notch. Dan went the 'extra mile' to create a valuable book for online genealogists. I hope he sells a million of these books; it's that good."
— Dick Eastman, Editor, Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter
Google Your Family Tree