Tips and Tricks for Booking Your Next Speaker

Booking a keynote speaker is a daunting task. They are the cornerstone of your event. What they say and how they say it will set the tone for what follows. The difference between a good speaker and a bad one, or one that is simply not appropriate, can make or break your event. These tips and tricks will take the guesswork out of it and ensure that at least this part of your event goes off without a hitch.

What type of speaker are you looking for?
There are all types of speakers. The style of speaker you choose will depend on what you want conveyed to your audience.

Motivational Speakers are hired to inspire your audience to create and produce within your company with passion and excitement. A good motivational speaker should draw from life experience to inspire your crowd. Motivational speakers are great for inspiring company unity and excellent customer service.

Industry Speakers are experts in their field. They've garnered success and now travel around telling others how they did it. Their presentation is educational and in depth, really getting down to the bones of why they reached success in their field. Perhaps your company is launching a new product. And Industry speaker can deliver the facts about the product and educate the audience on how to best market it.

Comedic Speakers get their message across with, well, comedy. They use laughter to instill their values and motivate the crowd. Comedic speakers are similar to motivational speakers in that they're great for hyping a crowd and getting them excited about something.

Celebrity Speakers are booked for their name and the hype they'll draw to your event. They aren't necessarily professional speakers and some are better than others. If considering a celebrity, make sure you research their speaking past to ensure their presentation is professional and rehearsed. They also cost considerably more than professional speakers. You should expect prices to start in the mid six-figures.

Factors To Consider When Searching for Speakers:

Different speakers are good for different types of events. Consider what the goals of your event are and which type of speaker can best help you achieve them.

Who is your audience? What is their age range, professional titles? Is it only employees or are spouses and guests invited? What do they expect to get out of a keynote speaker for this event? And what do you want them to get out of the speech?

Do they practice what they preach? A speaker could be incredibly charismatic and well spoken, but if they don't have the experience to back them up your audience will feel less engaged with them. Look for speakers who have experience in the topics you want them to discuss.

Ideally, you want a speaker who can do all of these things. Having a well-known, experienced, and entertaining speaker who can excite your audience is the ultimate goal.

As soon as the speaker you've chosen confirms their availability, the contract is drafted. This includes anything expected from your speaker about the event and everything in between. Anticipate the needs of the company, audience, and speaker so nothing unexpected arises that could jeopardize your event.

Aspects to include:

Consider how much time your speaker is expected to spend with the company: Do you only want them for their 60-minute speech, or do you expect them to do a book signing and a breakout session as well? Specify exactly what you want them to do and state the time you expect this to take. These factors may affect the cost of the speaker.

Expenses: You are responsible for any expense necessitated by the appearance including transportation, airfare, accommodations, meals, audio-visual equipment, and incidentals.

Travel arraignments and transportation: Typically, the speaker will book their own travel and "home city" transportation. You are responsible for anything that occurs in the city of the event.

Permissions**: Do you plan on recording the speech for future use? This and what you intend to use the recording for need to be stated in the contract and cleared with the speaker. This also goes for asking the speaker to promote the event with their various social media platforms and any other marketing/promotional material you have planned.

**Note: If you're booking a celebrity speaker you will have to clear any recordings and marketing plans with their PR representation. Anticipate a few weeks for negotiations. Celebrity teams aren't known for their quick responses.

Consider the atmosphere of the room:
Avoid round tables - they put half the audience's back to your speaker and put space between people, which disrupts the collective effect of humor on a crowd.

Consider room temperature. You don't want your audience to be too cold or too hot. It will detract from their attention on the speaker.

Try to schedule your keynote around meals. Making your speaker compete with food will detract from the meaning of their message.

Onsite Contact:
Make sure your speaker has their onsite contact's information before they arrive at the event location.

Have the onsite contact get the speaker's power point presentation (if they have one) to the audio-visual people as soon as they arrive to ensure all technical difficulties are worked out beforehand.

Speech Content:
Ensure that your speaker has enough information about your company to tailor their presentation. This may involve several conference calls and/or one-on-one interviews with various employees.

After the event, have your audience complete an evaluation on the speaker. Find out if your audience found the speaker effective and if they received the intended message. This will help with future event planning.

The right speaker can exponentially benefit your event and the company. Using these tips and the right booking agency will ensure a successful event with a keynote speech that leaves a lasting impression on your audience.

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