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Whether you’re hosting a major conference or a small in-service event, finding the right keynote speaker should be at the top of your priority list. The right speaker will connect with your audience, hold their attention, and deliver some meaningful action steps that participants can carry with them. In short, a good keynote speaker will provide a memorable and meaningful time.

The wrong keynote speaker, meanwhile, may struggle to engage; may offer nothing of practical value; may even cause the entire event to be a bit of a bust.

So how can you make sure you land in the first camp, and not the second?

Know Your Event

The first step is to have a clear vision for your event. Even before you start considering specific speakers, make sure you have a good grasp on all of the following:

  1. Know the basic scheduling and logistics of your meeting. How many presentations do you need to plan for? How much time will your speaker be given? And what happens directly before and after the keynote address(es)? These are all important things to know.
  2. Know your audience. Who’s going to be listening to the keynote address? What are the values, pain points, and ultimate goals of your audience?
  3. Know the theme or objective of the meeting. A good keynote speaker will tie their speech into the larger themes or concerns of your conference.
  4. Know how you will define a successful keynote address. What benchmarks have you set for a really good keynote?

Make sure you can answer all of these questions decisively before you begin your speaker search in earnest.

From there you can start interviewing some specific names. Use your answer to question #3, above, to ensure you’re finding people with the right subject matter expertise. Always ask for clips you can watch, to get a sense of their speaking style. And, pay attention to the kinds of questions your potential speakers ask of you. A real pro will ask you a lot of questions to ensure they are tailoring their message to your audience and event!

With these steps, you can enjoy a smoother search for a keynote speaker. Incidentally, I’m a certified public speaking professional and an internationally sought-after keynote speaker, and I’d love to talk with you more about being a part of your event. Reach out to me directly!