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How To Find The Perfect Keynote Speaker For Your Event

by Jeff Robbin
How To Find The Perfect Keynote Speaker For Your Event

While every event is different, one thing remains constant: Speakers play a significant role in driving an event's success. A great way to ensure a top-attended and reviewed meeting is to clearly identify and understand the theme and motivation for each unique event—and then to plan keynote speakers that reinforce that messaging. So, while selecting a keynote speaker for your event may not be one of the first steps in the meeting planning process, it's an important one that requires a well-planned out and thoughtful strategy. 

Research and preparation are especially key when it comes to: ensuring that your chosen speaker meets the expectations of your event stakeholders, captivates your audience, and delivers a high-impact  presentation. But first you have to establish clear goals. Once you are clear on your event’s topic, theme, and key objectives, as well as the demographic of your audience (so that you know what they are interested in and what they want to get out of attending an event like yours), you can begin the keynote speaker search process.

To do this, there are few key questions you must be able to answer upfront to identify what type of speaker would be the best fit for your specific event.

If you're looking to hire a speaker for an upcoming event or meeting, whether it be a keynote speech, moderated event, panel discussion, seminar, workshop, awards ceremony, conference session, Q&A session, or a webinar, start out by answering the following questions to ensure a successful speaker search.

Questions to Answer to Find The Best Speaker

Here are the key questions you need to ask yourself to identify the perfect type of speaker for your event:

What Is The Primary Objective Of The Event?

Are you having a sales event to kick off a new year? Convening a board meeting that needs to complete a clear objective? Or is it your annual gathering of members or clients coming together for common learning? Establishing a well-defined objective needs to top your list of priorities.

Sales Events:

For sales events, you will typically be looking for someone to excite and inspire. A sales team is normally filled with high energy, upbeat individuals, and your speaker should be of the same temperament. The speaker you bring in should also be able to provide clear takeaways on how to perform at a higher level and have an interesting story to keep the group entertained.

Here are some of the best sales meeting and sales kick-off event speakers:

Click here to see even more of our speaker suggestions for sales meetings.

Board Meetings:

Board meetings typically bring in high-level speakers from well-respected organizations. They are there less to entertain and more to provide key information on a topic that affects the group, often drawing on personal experience. Politics, national security, and finance are just a few topic areas that are often most useful to Boards of Directors.

Here are some of the best speakers for board meetings:

Click here to see even more of our speaker suggestions for board meetings.

What Personality Will Align Best With The Audience?

It is vital that you know your audience when choosing a speaker. What is the gender breakdown, for example? Do you know your audience's average age, job title, or political background? Each speaker has a different style and it is important to make sure it meshes well with your audience. Some speakers are very tight-lipped while others let their words flow more freely. Watching speaker video will give you the best idea of what a speaker is like and how well they will interact with your audience.

What Is The Goal Of The Keynote Speech?

As we have said before, knowing your objective is crucial. Is the speaker there to purely entertain, or to teach a subject and provide valuable takeaways to your audience? If the primary goal is entertainment, you want a high-energy speaker with an interesting or perhaps even emotional story. This is also a time where it may be worthwhile to spend more to bring in a bigger name with a recognizable brand and life story. Many events already have industry experts available to speak, so having a person with an incredible story like a former athlete, military veteran, or mountain climber gives the audience a chance sit back and be motivated by a remarkable individual with a story removed from their everyday experiences.

If you are looking for business takeaways, the speaker does not have to be from your industry, but you want them to tie their lessons and messaging back to your audience. Make sure they can be relatable to your audience and your industry, while also giving your group a different perspective on how to run their business. They should still be upbeat, but you want your group going back to their desks on Monday morning being able to use the practical information from that presentation in their day to day.

What Presentation Style Are You Looking For?

Presentation is another area to think through. Do you mind if a speaker is behind a podium? Do you prefer visuals and slides, or are you just looking for your speaker to get onstage and tell you a story?

If you are looking for a more academic setting for your event, then note cards and a podium are not lackluster. But, if you are looking for a speaker to motivate, inspire or bring energy to the room, then a presenter should must move about the stage without notes and have ample charisma to fire up an audience. It is important to watch videos of your potential speaker before signing a contract to fully comprehend their delivery and style.

What Is Your Budget?

Just like everything else, speakers come with a price. The biggest difference price makes is in regards to name recognition. If you are looking for an athlete, business leader, politician or media personality with name ID, they usually come with a larger price tag of $50,000 or higher. You may want that big name-draw speaker like Magic Johnson, Steve Wozniak, or Joe Scarborough at your event, but with you must be willing to incur the cost.

Even if you don’t have a big budget, you can still book a fantastic keynote speaker for your event. In fact, you can find some of the best career speakers and business leaders in the $20-40,000 range who value their clients more than most and generating bookings based on word-of-mouth referrals. These speakers typically spend the most time customizing their content and researching the audience and business they are speaking to. These are the speakers that thrive off of testimonials and will do everything in their power to make it the most valuable speech possible.

Those are all of the questions we recommend you consider at the beginning of your speaker search. By answering these questions, you will be better positioned to start your speaker search and to ultimately select the ideal keynote speaker for your event or conference. 

Next Steps

Over the last thirty years, the Leading Authorities speakers bureau team has helped thousands of clients to find and book the right speaker for their events, which is why the vast majority of our clients come back to us for their future speaker needs. And we would love to work with you on finding the best speaker for an upcoming event or meeting.

Ready to get started? If you’re interested in learning more about these speakers, or if you have a more specific speaking spot to fill at an upcoming event, contact us today.

To reach out to our team, you can also fill out the form below, email uscall 1-800-SPEAKER, or live chat with a member of our team right now.

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