Finding the best speaker for your event

How do I choose the right speaker for my event?

Set the scene: you are planning an in-person leadership offsite, client summit, virtual learning session or other event where you need a guest speaker to deliver an inspiring, motivational or educational keynote address. The time has come to find a keynote speaker to bring new, exciting ideas to the table. Hopefully, an event speaker will bring new perspectives, a story, or a lesson. The mark of a successful event is finding the right speaker, one that adds to the theme of the day, engages your audience and leaves them thinking for –hopefully– some time after. 

So, where can you find such a speaker for your conference, hybrid or in-person event? How can you host the perfect keynote address for your audience?

Memorable events are built around ideas, not individuals. The best speakers are not always those who charge the highest amounts, or are top-selling writers to begin with. They are people who can offer insight, perspective and wisdom to your event, adding value to your attendees and making the day about provocative, thoughtful discussion and ideas: something that is truly priceless. 

Read on for our tips on how to find the best speaker for your event.

How do you approach a speaker for an event?

There are many ways to find the right speaker. In today’s digital world, one way to do it is through social media platforms; simply reaching out to a speaker via LinkedIn or their website, or shooting them an email. These techniques can and do often work, except they leave you with the burden of sifting, analysing and choosing top speakers for hours and hours, with no guaranteed return on investment. 

Then, there’s the word of mouth technique: contacting external engagement managers, searching internal directories, running Google searches, emailing industry bodies or reaching out to colleagues in similar subjects or fields. Finding and approaching the right speaker can easily become a time-consuming task in the midst of many other decisions that need to be made. So, how can you find a partner to help you nail the best speaker for your event?

Finding a trusted partner for your search

This is exactly where choosing a speaker bureau to be your partner in the search may be just the solution. They will support your event by finding the right speaker, helping you bring real value to your attendees and context to the event itself. Finding a partner to connect you with the right keynote speaker may be the best choice. Speaker bureaus are specialised in this process: they can match you to speakers that cover similar ideas, often top-rated thought leaders in the industry or theme of your choosing that you simply hadn’t heard about yet.

Think of a bureau as your trusted partner: they can build proposals for speakers to engage with from different backgrounds, sectors and professions. In many cases, they are able to make the connections you don’t have the time for or simply don’t know of yet, bringing a wealth of information to sift through, and speakers to choose from. Bureaus keep your budget and topic in mind, making the search more streamlined and hassle-free, leaving you to focus on other aspects of the relationship, such as approaching, engaging and connecting with the speaker for your event.

Getting the most value from your guest speaker

At this stage, you will have found the right guest speaker. Yet you’re only getting started! Engaging with your speaker is perhaps the most important part of your collaboration, and will surely set the tone for what’s to come. Here is where working with a trusted speaker bureau partner can smooth the all-important briefing and other event preparations. Below are a few tips that may be useful to keep in mind at this stage:

  1. Ensure their content aligns to the goals of your event. While having an entertaining, engaging speaker is great for keeping your audience interested, make sure you are able to get your message across. Discuss the messaging and the key story the speaker will share with your audience to make sure your event and their message go hand-in-hand. Aim for an event where your speaker delivers ideas and sparks conversations that your audience wouldn’t be able to have anywhere else.
  2. Send your guest speaker the event and presentation guidelines. Provide speech duration estimates, slide formats, recommendations and best practices. Make sure to co-create the keynote if that’s something you have the time for; alternatively, be clear about the structure of the event.
  3. Discuss audience engagement strategies with your speaker. Imagine exactly how you would like your speaker to engage with the audience: will it be through live polls or quizzes throughout the keynote, or will you opt for a more dynamic break in between segments where people can share their perspectives? Co-create this aspect with your speaker.
  4. Co-design your Q&A. As mentioned earlier, making an event engaging is about including the audience, where they can contribute to (and even in some cases), shape the discussion. Ask your speaker what their tried and true Q&A methods are, and don’t be afraid of implementing them or mixing them up with your own ideas.
  5. Be clear about where your speaker needs to be and when. It may sound obvious, but absolute clarity in the planning stage about the logistics of the engagement (be it in-person, virtual or hybrid) is vital to a stress-free experience for all involved.
  6. Promote your speaker(s). Regardless of the event you are planning, make sure your audience can learn a thing or two about your keynote speaker in preparation for the event. This warms them up to the person giving the session, making them comfortable with sharing their perspectives. It is also a way to pay gratitude to your speaker: you can connect them with other colleagues, attendees or organisers who may be interested in hosting them in one of their future events. 

Where can I find the best speaker for my event?

Are you planning a leadership offsite, client summit, learning session or other (virtual) gathering where a motivational, inspirational or educational guest speaker might be needed? Let us help you with fresh and powerful speaker ideas.

Based in the Netherlands and operating globally, we connect our global clients to the most relevant and engaging speakers and facilitators for their meetings and events.  We partner with experienced and respected speakers who will inspire, educate, challenge and entertain your  global audiences around themes such as creating high performance cultures, building purpose into organisations, understanding geopolitical and demographic trends that will influence your organisation’s growth, and becoming future fit leaders.

We manage the speaking activities of a select group of doers and thinkers and also offer the services of an extensive list of speakers not directly under our management to our global customers for their internal and client-focused conferences. 

If you are looking for a partner you can trust to identify guest speakers or speaking opportunities, book a call or email us here.