3 Tips on Hiring the Right Keynote Speaker

3 Tips on Hiring The Right Keynote Speaker

3 Tips on Hiring The Right Keynote Speaker For Your Event

You’re a professional event planner who has successfully planned and executed numerous large-scale events. You want this next one to be no exception and the stakes are as high as ever – especially when it comes to finding the right keynote speaker. The problem is, there are so many keynote speakers out there, and it can be difficult to know which one will resonate with your audience. If you only rely on their websites, investing in a keynote speaker could feel like a gamble. After all your hard work preparing for this event, the last thing you need is a high-maintenance keynote speaker or your audience cringing at a clear miss.   Your keynote speaker should partner with you to make your event a success. Don’t risk letting the wrong keynote speaker bring you unnecessary stress. Read my top three criteria to consider before you hire anyone for the important role of keynote speaker.

Your Checklist for Success:

1. Competence

First, ask whether this individual is actually a keynote speaker? There are a lot of trainers and facilitators out there but remember that they serve a different purpose than a keynote speaker.  As you curate a shortlist, ensure your candidates have enough practical experience to be a thought leader for your audience. Do they have the necessary level of understanding about your industry and organization to speak from a place of empathy and experience?

ACTION PLAN: Call at least three references from the candidate’s most recent events to ensure there are glowing reviews all around.

2. Chemistry

Next, decide what personality would best suit the organization or industry culture you’re representing. Know your audience so you can give them what they need from a keynote speaker (humour, motivation, emotion, savviness, etc.) Equally as important – what characteristics would not be accepted in the event culture you’re creating? What is happening in your work culture right now and who will be able to establish trust with your audience in your current climate? Is some light-cussing appropriate in your work culture? Are there any taboo topics you should ensure will not make their way into a keynote speech?

ACTION PLAN: Conduct an audit of the candidate’s social media content, videos, blogs and any online reviews to assess their tone.

3. Customization

Finally, when you think about the goals of your event, is there a specific topic you need your keynote speaker to address? Or are you more focused on the feeling they can create in your audience? The first option may require more customization, so check with the candidate to make sure they can tailor their talk to address your event goals.  Be wary of keynote speakers who are just looking for opportunities to market themselves. Their goals should align with your goals of delivering value to the event audience, not their book sales.

ACTION PLAN: Learn what materials the keynote speaker will bring with them? Will they leave your audience with valuable takeaways? Ask if and how these materials have been modified with past clients to suit their audience or event theme.

How This Checklist Will Help You:

After all your hard work, you deserve to feel great about your event before, during and after. Following these three prompts will help you find a fantastic keynote speaker who delivers for your event attendees.  When you don’t have to worry about the success of your speaker, you are free to stay on top of the day’s timeline, your attendees will have a memorable event, and your boss will be thrilled with the positive feedback.

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Tim Arnold

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