Choose a keynote speaker for your event is no small task. The right speaker can make your event one to remember by engaging the audience in a meaningful way or imparting fresh, inspirational messaging. Likewise, the speaker can fail to connect with your audience or come across as lackluster. Having a strong speaker will set the whole tone of your event. But this isn’t an item on your event-planning checklist that you should leave to the last minute, it’s an involved process that will be worth the work. Here are some things to consider as you begin to plan:
- Prepare in advance. As soon as you know your event venue and date, book your speaker. They can be booked months in advance, so you need to contact them as soon as possible. We suggest at least six to twelve months before your event.
- Know your target audience. You can choose the best speaker in the world, but they may not be right for your audience. Make sure your speaker makes sense for the event theme or industry. You might want an expert in your field or someone who thinks a little differently and has a fresh perspective. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and consider what they might enjoy.
- Budget. Know the numbers you’re working with so you don’t end up with a speaker who blows your budget or isn’t enough bang for your buck. Hiring a celebrity with sky-high fees may be feasible for some planners, but most people have a budget. You can call around to agencies and get an idea of pricing that doesn’t hurt your bottom line.
- Location and logistics. Some speakers expect the event to cover their travel and accommodations. You might know the perfect speaker but perhaps she’s in Australia for the summer. Probably not the best pick if your event is in Texas. Work out all those details before you sign anything. Make sure you’re clear about what you expect from your speaker (autographs, breakout sessions, questions and answers, one-on-ones, etc.)
- Preview. You really need to see your preferred speaker in action before you book them. Make sure their appearance and presentation style match your audience and company core values. You can find most speakers in a YouTube or Ted Talks search.
- Social media check. Visit the speaker’s website and social channels to make sure their content and/or brand message is consistent and non-offensive. You should feature and mention your speaker through your own event’s social media, so you want to make sure the sites are safe before you link to them.
- Check References. Call the last conference or event that the speaker was featured at and see how it went. It’s worth the extra effort to follow up on those references.
- Speaker Guidelines. It’s not a bad idea to create a list of guidelines for your speaker. They need to know what sort of equipment will be available in the space they will speak, how long their session will be, formatting requirements and a myriad of other information. Again, putting time and energy into the details and communication with your guest speaker will hopefully prevent any misunderstandings or problems.
Ideally, if you’ve planned and executed well, this experience will turn out great for you and your keynote speaker.
If you’re interested in planning an event and need help choosing a speaker, connect with eCubed Events today. We’d love to talk with you about your event goals and how we can help you achieve them.