The difference between a pat on the back or slow shakes of your head is choosing the right speaker to speak at your event.
The right speakers are key to the success of any conference or event. These speakers can be keynote, session and guest speakers. These speakers can set the mood for the event and make it memorable for your audience.
There are many factors to consider when selecting guest speakers. These include technological knowledge and diversity, as well as their ability to inspire and engage your audience.
You can ruin your reputation if you do it wrong. If you get it right, it will be a major step towards a memorable and successful event.
This article will discuss how to choose the right speaker for your event.
What makes a great guest speaker?
You should see speaker selections as an opportunity, not a task to be completed. A good speaker can make your event stand out.
Let’s begin with the qualities that make a great speaker. They must be able to entertain, engage, and inspire the audience. The right speaker depends on what your event is about and what you are trying to accomplish.
Good keynote speakers or guests need to be able do at least one of these things:
- Attract attendees
- Engage an audience
- Reaffirm key themes from events
- Entertain an audience
- Educate audiences
- Encourage people and promote positive change
- Give fresh perspective and insight on event-related topics
- Give actions and motivational tips
Considerations in Choosing a Speaker
What’s the purpose of the speaker?
You have an idea of the main themes, topics and overall goals of your event. These themes should be closely aligned with the speaker you choose.
A variety of roles can be played by a guest speaker. A guest speaker can be energizing, inspiring, supporting the event themes, adding value by sharing insider information, offering a fresh perspective, breaking up the routine, and entertaining. It is much easier to find a speaker who can help you achieve your event goals if you know what you are looking for.
Level Of Knowledge
It is up to you to decide how important industry knowledge is for your guestspeaker. You will find a specialist in the area that is most relevant to your event, your key themes, and your audience.
A thought leader in the industry adds value to attendees by being relevant. They can provide insights into emerging trends and predict future trends, share data, and recommend actions that will have a positive impact on attendees as well as their organizations.
You can also choose a speaker with limited industry knowledge who will serve another purpose. You could choose a celebrity, an author or a motivational speaker who can inspire and engage your audience. You might also consider other related topics that could be used to support conference themes. It is important to find a speaker who has experience in tailoring presentations to your audience.
No matter what type of speaker you choose, the most important thing is their ability to connect with your audience. This requires a great sense of storytelling, impeccable pacing and a strong sense for narrative.
Relevance to Audience
Match your speakers to your audience when searching for speakers.
If the speakers aren’t going to be appealing to attendees, it’s not worth picking your favorite author, comedian, or mindfulness coach to give the speech. Consider why people are attending the conference. What are they looking to find? Do they want something lighthearted and funny? Do they need no-nonsense advice with clear calls to action? Are they looking for a storyteller? Or someone who can give insights using facts, figures, and stats. It is important to research your audience’s needs and expectations before you choose the speaker.
Keeping on budget is key when planning a conference . It is important to know what your budget for guest speakers is. Although it would be great to have the most brilliant keynote speakers in the world, event and conference budgets aren’t always able to cover this expense.
It is worth noting that celebrities and high-profile keynote speakers may not be the best choice, even if they are within your budget. It is more important to be a relevant and great speaker than their fame and draw.
To get an idea about the cost of a keynote speaker, it is a good idea to call around agencies. You can get a better idea about the costs and what you can accomplish within your budget by making inquiries.
Yes, budgets are necessary for speakers. Professional speakers are not free anymore. A good presentation requires time, effort, and experience. This must be paid for.
This will help you narrow down your list of speakers. It is important to know exactly what you will be paying and when. Some guest speakers expect accommodation and travel to be included in their fees.
It’s a great idea to allow the guest speaker to interact with attendees during break out sessions or refreshment breaks. This should be discussed and included in the package price. Jeff Kear’s post states that “Giving your audience one-on-one interaction with the speaker prior to and after the speech only enhances the experience.”
Diversity means a variety of opinions, different angles and more meaningful debate. It is important to emphasize that diversity can also mean a greater range of ideas, a better progression of ideas, and broader perspectives. You can make the event more interesting and enriching by choosing keynote speakers who are from different backgrounds, regardless of their gender, or race.
It is impossible to have a lack in diversity of speakers at conferences and events. Every event planner can play a role in encouraging diversity in speaker lines-ups and ending the dominance of white and male speakers.
There are many ways to encourage diversity. Ask your speakers for recommendations and search specialist databases to find speakers.
Find guest speakers
Once you have identified the type of speaker that you are looking for and what role they will play in your event, it is time to search for them. It is not easy to find the right speaker from the many available. Here are some places to start your search:
Similar conferences and events – Look back at similar events to see which speakers were featured. You can find out the success of their presentations by looking on YouTube and social media.
To find speakers, you can use agencies such as Speakers Corner or JLA.
To find social media influencers, use databases such as BlueNod
Your contacts – Yes, you can go back and look at your contact list to see who stands out.
TED Talk Speakers – TEDx talks place emphasis on engaging and high quality speakers, so these are the speakers to use in your search.
The Checklist for Choosing the Right Speaker
Now that you have a list of potential speakers, it is time to evaluate whether they are suitable for your event and if they can deliver the goods.
Watch them in action – This is the best way to find out if they are suitable for your event. This is the best way for you to determine if a speaker is right for your event, if time permits. You can also watch them speak at events on YouTube and Vimeo. Ask the speaker or their representative for footage of them speaking in front of an audience if they are not available on these platforms.
Visit their website – Although websites can be misleading they should give you an impression of the speaker’s suitability.
View Slideshare – Search for your speaker on Slideshare and see their slides. The slides used by speakers can give you a sense of their professionalism and quality. A speaker who has well-designed and presented slides will often make an effort to impress their audience.
Talk to them – Having a conversation with them over Skype or by phone will allow you to ask key questions, get a feel for their personality and see how you might work together. You know they are serious if you ask them lots of questions about the event and the audience.
Look at their Twitter and other social Media profiles – Are they still active? Are they promoting events they have attended in the past? Do they represent an asset? You can add real value to your event by having a speaker who is proficient in social media marketing. Julius Solaris’ article about hiring conference speakers states that a good speaker will have a strong following on social media. This is what you want to see: positive engagement and meaningful content.
References – Make the effort to verify any references.
Relevant Experience – Check to find out if they have any experience working with similar audiences.
How to Choose the Right Speaker for Your Event
When selecting speakers for your event, there are three areas you should pay attention to:
Have you ever lost hours in a TED Talk wormhole via YouTube? No. It’s just us. TED Talks is a great example of how engaging and compelling presentations can be.
Your speaker doesn’t have to be the best, but he or she must engage the audience. Today’s audience is more demanding than ever. They want to be entertained, able to interact and see the technology used. Engaging an audience is all about storytelling. A strong narrative can bring together a talk and keep it interesting.
You should be looking for a speaker who is eager to learn and adapt to your needs when choosing them. Are they able to adapt their talks to the needs of the audience? This is not a new presentation, but a personal effort to reach and engage the audience. This is a sign that they are a good speaker if they ask for information about the event and the audience.
Presenting is a complex task today. Technology plays a key role. Technology can improve talks in many ways but it is most effective through engaging the audience and enabling interaction. Ask the speaker about their tech needs. This will help you to gauge how ambitious or comfortable they are with technology.