A big reason people love live events is the guest speakers. They look forward to being entertained, motivated, and educated. So, if you want a positive response from your audience, you need to choose the right keynote or guest speakers.
Let’s state the obvious: give yourself enough time to plan your event so you have multiple speakers to choose from. Planning a large event in three months’ time will severely limit your speaker choices as their calendars will likely be booked already. But planning a year in advance will widen your choices and the speakers may be knocking on your door to earn the gig.
Also, planning a realistic budget is of utmost importance because you will need to pay for the speaker’s travel expenses, food, hotel, and speaking fee. Depending on who you hire, this could be multiple thousands of dollars, so plan your budget carefully.
Let’s delve into how to choose the best speakers for your event:
- Know your audience. Who are the people coming to your event? Who are you targeting with your marketing and advertising campaigns? If it’s a group of women business owners, they will likely be inspired by a strong female speaker. If the audience is filled with business owners in a particular niche, then someone who is successful in that niche will be interesting to hear.
- Read the speaker reviews. When doing your research, go to each speaker’s website and read their media page. This will include recent media appearances, other keynote speaking events, in addition to how to contact them regarding speaking engagements. Now, research further and find reviews of these recent events and pay attention to any mention of the speakers. Were they received well by the audience or were they panned? Look at each review objectively and take notes.
- What is the guest speaker’s purpose? Do you want to inspire your audience or educate them? Do you want someone who is skilled at leading workshops or someone who can energize a morning meeting? Just as you have a unique selling point, so do speakers. Matching up speakers with your event’s mission will make for a happy audience.
- Watch YouTube videos of potential speakers. Many events record their guest speakers and one of the perks of speaking is often getting a copy of the video for their own marketing efforts. You can often find these videos on the speaker’s media page or on their YouTube channel. Watch these videos objectively and decide if they will serve your purpose and connect with your audience.
5. Ask friends and colleagues for references. Word of mouth referrals are valuable in every industry, especially if you already respect the person who is giving the referral. This is a good way to ask more questions about how easy or difficult it was to communicate or deal with the speaker and if their audience was happy with them. Also, we “vet” speakers in our magazine:
Check out our January issue of fabulous speakers with John-Leslie Brown on the cover (son of the legendary Les Brown):