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Establishing a Speakers Bureau

Speakers bureaus have long been used by corporations, agencies and non-profit groups to offer presentations to the community. A speakers bureau is a core group of speakers (either staff or volunteers) who are available for community meetings or gatherings. Creating your own speakers bureau offers another opportunity to educate the public and act as a community resource.

Determine who will staff the bureau. Consider employees who are interested, or who possess the appropriate traits. Good speakers are enthusiastic about the public education program, interact well with people, and have a working knowledge of the issue. Volunteer speakers are another option if you are concerned about employees taking time away from work to make presentations. Suggestions on how to generate volunteer presenters are discussed later in
this section.

Once you have selected the presenters for your speakers bureau, create an outline for the presentation. To start the outline, make a list of information you want to give the audience. Then put each piece of information into a category (e.g., what to consider when buying pesticides, proper application techniques, and integrated pest management practices). Next, place the categories in a logical order. You obviously want to talk about use of the products before disposal. Once these elements are in order, create an opening and a conclusion for the presentation.

Once you have a tentative outline for the presentation and determine whether employees or volunteers will staff the bureau, then you are ready to look at the technical aspects of the presentations.

Evaluation of Method

Pros: This is an effective way to reach the specified target audiences when appearing at community gatherings or meetings. This option offers the chance to speak to a captive audience, and gives the presenter the chance to explore pesticide use in greater detail than would be possible at other special events.

Cons: Sometimes the meetings will have a small number of attendees. This may decrease the value of a speakers bureau, given the time and effort required. Locating and training presenters to staff the bureau is also time-consuming. If district employees staff the speakers bureau, they will need time off from their regular duties.

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