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Guest Speakers Keep it Interesting

February 19, 2001 -

by Joe Pulizzi

Guest speakers can really liven up your club atmosphere. I would recommend having a guest speaker come to at least 2 meetings per year, if you meet monthly. I get a lot of questions about the kinds of guest speakers to invite, so below is my list.

Accountants
Do any of your members know a good accountant? Have your accountant come in and talk to the club about the tax consequences of investing. Prepare some questions before hand - things you have always wanted to know.

Brokers
If you use an online broker, this may be more difficult. Have your broker come in and give a speech about investing and investment clubs. Ask about what qualifications are needed to be a broker. Ask about the pitfalls investors get into, and how to avoid them. If your broker is an online, discount broker, you will have to ask around - check family and friends to find a possibility. If you have a retirement account, ask the brokerage who oversees that.

Club Presidents/Outside Club Members
This may be the best guest to have. Bringing in members from other clubs is an enlightening experience. Our club recently brought in two members from a more experienced club. They explained to us how they pick their stocks, and how they handle difficult situations. If you can find another club, offer to come in as a guest speaker if they do the same for you. Trust me - it's worth it.

Retired Investors
These guests do not have to be involved in investment clubs. Try to find a person who is retired but has developed a nice retirement nest egg through investing. Have him or her share their investing challenges and mistakes. You'll find that most of these people will rejoice in the buy-and-hold mentality - which should help your club's philosophy.

Business People
Is your club looking at particular industries. If so, try to bring in someone from that industry. Our club was recently investigating the print media industry, so we had someone come in from Penton Media to discuss where the industry is going, and the differences between B2B and B2C print publishing. This made our decision about whether or not to invest in the industry much easier. If your club performs industry reports, guest speakers are the way to go.

Work the meeting around your guest speaker. Our club prefers to have the speaker go first, so they can decide whether to stay for the rest of the meeting. And please - have snacks and refreshments available. That will make a great impression.


Joe Pulizzi is a freelance writer with over 100 published articles on investment clubs. Joe was editor of About.com's Investment Club site.



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