When planning an event, whether it be a one night conference or a convention that will span several days, one of the most important items on the list is finding a keynote speaker. For those that are new to planning such events, this can be an overwhelming task. There are some tips that can make it less so, as well as certain steps in a process that can help along the way.
Compile a List
There are thousands of keynote speakers out there. They vary greatly in topic and experience, and it is very difficult to even know where to start without a list. The best way to start a list is by adding speakers with which the planner has personal experience that fit the bill. Then ask around and get ideas from other planners and friends that have had to find speakers on related topics. Next, turn to the internet to find speakers that speak on the particular topic.
Narrow the List
Work down the list determining availability and price range for the specific event for which the speaker is needed. The best way to do this is by getting in touch with the person in charge of booking events for each speaker. Mark off speakers that are not available or that do not fit within the budget.
Those left on the short list are all possibilities. Look for reviews, find others who have heard them in person, and see if there are any videos of past speaking engagements available online. YouTube is a great resource for this if there are none available on the speaker’s site. The booking agent may also be able to provide videos via email.
Get a Second Opinion
If there is a committee tasked with planning the event, definitely seek a second opinion from others on the committee before making the final decision. Even if the final decision is up to one person alone, a second opinion is the best way to ensure that all bases are covered.
Have a Backup Plan
Once the speaker is booked, realize that life happens to everyone, including those who speak for a living. A backup plan is not only responsible, but it could be necessary. Inquire as to whether or not the speaker has a designated backup in case of an emergency. If not, book another speaker from the list, for a workshop or introductory speech if possible, with the intention of moving them to keynote speaker if an issue arises with the original speaker. Another option is to have a list of newer, local talent to call upon if need be. These may be better able to fill in with little notice.
Remember those newer speakers trying to get started locally on the front end as well. Though they may be less experienced, they could be quite good and they will likely work for less if budget is an issue. Helping new talent get a start is honorable, and they may even offer a discount for word of mouth advertising or an online review. It could be a win-win situation. Click here to learn more about hiring a keynote speaker for your event.
Photo Credit: Chris Guillebeau