A good conference speaker is a key ingredient to holding a successful event. However, how can you know in advance which guest will engage and inspire the audience the most? The right speaker will draw more attendees to the event in the first place, and help to create a memorable conference that will make a lasting positive impression.
Here are some tips to help you choose the best conference speaker.
What is the overall purpose of the event?
A common mistake is to pick a guest speaker based on their CV or track record, or because they have a recognisable name which you think will draw the crowds. However, the speaker should always be chosen because they are the best fit for the objectives of the event.
Write down the main aims of the event, then research speakers who are most closely aligned with these goals. This way, you are more likely to find someone who is best placed to genuinely add value to the event and engage the audience.
What time will your guest deliver their speech?
Conferences naturally ebb and flow throughout the day, so the timeslot when you want the keynote speech delivered is important. If you want them to kick off the event, the speaker will set the tone for the rest of the day. Therefore, they should be enthusiastic and well informed about the overall aims and objectives of the event.
If the key speech is to be delivered directly after lunch, the speaker will need to be capable of rousing the attendees from a slump in energy levels, and help them focus on the afternoon agenda.
For a speaker who will be rounding off the day’s events, the speaker must be capable of summing up the most important points, and possibly handling comments and questions from the audience and other participants.
Research the speaker’s track record
Once you have clarified what messages you want delivered and when, it’s time to start looking around for a suitable candidate. The speaker should have the relevant knowledge and experience to talk on the chosen topics with authority. However, this must be backed up with a good stage presence and delivery.
Most professional speakers will have an online profile, where you can view clips of their past performances. Use these to assess the speaker’s delivery skills, such as the clarity and animation of their voice, and their ability to engage with an audience, as well as the quality of their content.
Ask yourself if they a good fit for the company culture and the profile of the audience members—for example, a peppy youthful presenter may not be the right cultural fit for a traditional financial services company.
Make sure the speaker’s fees align with your budget
Big name speakers who are likely to draw delegates to your conference will charge higher fees, no matter what the length of their speech is. However, there are still other ways that you can get a good return on investment, perhaps by asking the speaker to join a networking session, or sign copies of their latest book.
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