How to Book the Perfect Keynote Speaker for Your Conference

How to Book the Perfect Keynote Speaker for Your Conference

A lot goes into planning a successful corporate event. From choosing the right venue to creating an engaging series of breakouts and panels, and of course, having the lunches and cocktails just right, there are many things to consider. But the truth is, no matter how great your event looks on paper, if you don’t choose the right keynote speaker, it could end up being a huge disappointment for both you and your attendees.

Why have a keynote speaker?

Keynote speakers are one of the most important parts of any conference because they help set the tone and give attendees something to look forward to. When it comes to motivating people, there really isn't anything better than hearing someone tell a story about themselves. A speaker can relate to your audience and connect personally with them. Their stories show how they overcame obstacles and achieved success. In turn, your audience feels inspired and motivated.
Seeing a fresh perspective is not often easy when you are in the middle of something. In fact, it might even seem impossible. But keynote speakers can breathe new life onto old topics, looking at them from the outside and inspiring your audience into new ways to see and approach them.

Keynote speakers can help you think about what you do differently, how you could improve your processes, or why you need to change your strategy altogether. A good speaker can make you ask questions like, "What am I doing wrong?" or "Why isn't my product/service working?" This helps you identify problems and find solutions. And while that may sound obvious, many people don't realize they are already asking those kinds of questions.

A good keynote speaker can show you how to take those questions further and use them to solve real problems. For example, a keynote speaker can help you figure out where you are losing money, whether you need to rebrand, or whether you should try a different marketing channel. Or maybe you want to know how to manage customer feedback better. Whatever your question, a great keynote speaker can bring clarity to your thinking and give you the tools to answer it.


A good keynote speaker uses humor, personality, and delivery style to keep people engaged during a presentation. They can help make the event memorable for everyone involved. And while there are many ways to entertain an audience, one way to do it well is to use humor. Humorous speakers usually come across naturally and don't feel forced into trying to entertain.

Humor is a great tool because it makes people laugh. When people laugh, they relax and become more open to learning about what you're talking about. If you want to know how to deliver a successful keynote speech, consider hiring a humorous speaker.
audience laughing

Understand why you want to hire a keynote speaker

When it comes to hiring a keynote speaker, there are many reasons why people choose to do so. They might want someone to educate their guests about a particular topic, motivate them to take action, shift their thinking, initiate a change effort, or raise funds.
The most important thing is to know what you want out of your keynote speaker. If you don't know exactly what you're looking for, you'll probably end up with a lot of wasted money.

What to think about when hiring a keynote speaker 

If you're looking to book a keynote speaker for your next event, there are some important details you'll want to consider beforehand. Here are five tips to help ensure you find the perfect keynote speaker for your event.

1. Know Your Audience
The most important thing to do before booking a keynote speaker is to understand how well he or she fits into your audience. If you've never hired a keynote speaker before, you might think that any speaker who has spoken at similar events will work just fine. But, that isn't always true. Some speakers are better suited to one type of audience over another. For example, if your audience is primarily composed of women, you would typically hire a female speaker and probably don't want to hire a male speaker unless his topic aligns perfectly with what your female attendees are interested in. You can search to see what topics are trending among your target audience. This way, you can narrow down the list of potential speakers to those whose topics align with your interests.

If you don't know much about your audience, it's hard to make educated decisions about whom to hire. So how do you find out what your audience wants to learn? Ask them. You can use surveys to collect data, but you can also ask people directly. Attendees are often willing to provide feedback during events and conferences, especially if they feel like they've had a good experience. In addition, you can reach out to attendees via social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

2. Find Similar Events
Once you know who you'd like to speak at your event, you can start searching for similar events to yours. Doing so will give you a good idea of whether or not the person you're considering is speaking at many events. A good rule of thumb is to keep it under 10. If someone speaks at too many events, it could indicate that he or she is either inexperienced or doesn't care about connecting with your audience. Speaking at too many events will saturate the guest speaker, although he or she could know a lot about the industry now you are risking losing attendees because they have already listened to the speaker.

3. Reach Out To Speaker's Bureaus
Speaker bureaus have access to thousands of professional speakers across the world. They often specialize in niche industries such as technology, health, education, finance, travel, etc., making them ideal resources for finding the perfect keynote speaker for any occasion. When contacting a speakers bureau, provide detailed information about your event and ask questions about their experience. Be sure to include your budget and any specific requirements regarding the length of the speech, format, location, etc. Once you receive a response from the speaker's bureau, compare the speaker fees and qualifications of each candidate to determine which ones fit best within your budget.
keynote speaker speaking

What is your event objective?

The purpose of your event is to accomplish something. You want people to walk away feeling inspired, educated, motivated, etc. If you don't know why your event exists, you'll never know how well it succeeded. And if you're not sure what the event is supposed to achieve, you won't know whether it did or didn't succeed. So ask yourself: What are we trying to accomplish here?

You might think "We're just having fun." But there's another way to look at it: We're doing something important. We're making a difference. We're helping people. We're saving lives. We're changing minds. We're teaching kids to read. We're inspiring women to take charge of their health. We're showing our employees that they matter. We're empowering people to live better lives. Anything your conference is focusing on is doing something more than you think! You cannot sell out an event by saying we're just "having fun".

And whatever you're doing, that's what you should be talking about. Think about it: If you were hosting a party, wouldn't you want to know what the theme was? Or if you were planning a wedding, would you want to hear about the dress? When you host events, you're telling people what you care about. So, make sure your professional speaker talks about those things.

Research all possible keynote candidates

You've found the perfect speaker for your next event. Now you want to make sure he or she isn't a total train wreck. To find out, check out his or her LinkedIn profile and YouTube channel. If you see some recent activity, it indicates that the person is engaged in the industry. Next, follow him or her on Twitter and Facebook. Finally, look up the keynote candidate's website and see what kind of information is there. Is it updated regularly? Do people comment on it? Does the speaker answer questions? These are signs that the speaker cares about engaging with his or her followers and is an industry leader.

When you are looking to book a keynote speaker, it’s important to know what you want out of him/her. You might think that you want someone to deliver a speech, but there are many different types of speakers. A keynote speaker could be someone who is building a brand, writing a book, launching a product, speaking to a specific group, or delivering a training session.

The key here is to lay out the benefits, not just the features. You need to show the value of hiring this particular speaker.
women researching keynote speakers

Found the perfect speaker?

You've booked a great keynote speaker. Congratulations! But you still haven't nailed down all the terms of your contract. Here are some things to consider:
1. Define the agreement. What do you want to happen during the event? What are their booking fees? Do you want to pay a flat rate? Or will you give a percentage of registration fees? Will there be additional fees for special events such as breakout sessions? How much does it cost to fly your guest into town are they an international speaker?
2. Set expectations. Write down what you're willing to provide and what your guest expects in return. If you don't have enough money to cover everything, discuss how you'll split the costs.
3. Make sure your guest understands the rules. What happens if he/she cancels? Does he/she have to refund your deposit? Is there a limit to how many people can attend?
4. Be clear about what happens next. How long will it take for your guest to deliver his/her presentation? Who pays for travel expenses? When will the presentation be delivered? Will it be recorded? And who owns the video?
5. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare. Don't forget to schedule interviews and write blogs before your event. Your guests will appreciate it.
It's hard enough to find someone willing to speak at your event; but when you're looking for someone with industry-wide credibility, it becomes even more challenging. Finding speakers that truly understand what you want them to talk about is also critical. Your audience needs to see that the person speaking has experience in the subject matter as well. We hope that this article gave you insight on how to get everything you need out of your keynote speaker and create a successful conference both you and your attendees will enjoy.  


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