If you are planning a convention for your company, you need to make important decisions about where to hold the convention, what dates the event should be, and what your budget is. But one of the most important decisions you can make is about who will be the keynote speaker. And yes, you need one. It is not enough to have a slew of speakers at your company convention. You need a keynote speaker who can symbolize your event, and get people excited about attending. You want someone who will make your employees or members eagerly anticipate your convention.

The keynote speaker will be very important to the success of your event

A great keynote speaker – somebody who has magnetism, charm and knowledge — can set the tone for your event and put everyone in the right frame of mind. A terrible keynote speaker – somebody who bores your audience or even insults them, or somebody who isn’t knowledgeable about your company – could also set the tone for your convention in a bad way, putting the audience in a foul mood and getting convention attendees ticked off at the person who hired that speaker.

Obviously, you want to get praise and accolades for your terrific keynote speaker, and not get the fisheye from members wondering why the heck you hired this speaker. So you want to find a speaker who will:

  • Energize your event and get people feeling enthusiastic about your convention, especially if the speaker is first thing in the morning. You want a keynote speaker who will elicit standing ovations, not golf claps.
  • Have knowledge about your company. The speaker doesn’t need to be an expert on your business, but they should know important things about your company, like how you got started, how big your business are, what your mission is, and what challenges your organization faces.
  • Be a good speaker. You want somebody who is a captivating speaker, with the ability to modulate his or her voice and not speak too quickly or too slowly.
  • Be an appropriate speaker for your convention. Somebody could be a great keynote speaker at another event; just not at your event. For example, a super-enthusiastic, energetic speaker like Richard Simmons would be terrific for an exercise company, but not so much for a funeral business.
  • Set the tone for the rest of your convention. After all, that is what a keynote speaker is supposed to do. An atheist wouldn’t exactly work giving the keynote speech for a Christian organization of ministers.

So if you are in charge of hiring a keynote speaker for your company convention, make sure you have heard the person speak before, whether it is on tape or in person. Do some research to make sure the speaker has gotten positive response, and ask for references. Make sure that they will agree to do a speech that will fit your company’s event. And set a specific time for them to speak – 20 minutes is a good average. Following these tips will better ensure that your keynote speaker is successful for your company convention.