There’s a lot riding on your choice of conference speaker. In a very real way, it could make or break your event. After all, the main speaker effectively sets the tone and provides much of the actionable advice that participants will take away. Pick the wrong speaker for your audience and the entire conference could be a dud.

The question is, how do you ensure that the speaker you pick is a good one? Of course, a little bit of vetting is essential. Let me offer just a few ways in which you can vet your potential speaker.

Vetting a Keynote Speaker

Ask for video footage. Always ask to see some clips of your speaker in action, before you sign on a dotted line. Don’t worry—any reputable and experienced speaker will have some footage they can pass along. If your speaker seems hesitant to share video clips—well, that tells you everything you need to know right there.

Ask about credentials. There is such a thing as a certified public speaker, and inquiring about different accreditations and professional affiliations can give you some sense of the speaker’s bona fides.

Ask for referrals. You might also inquire as to where the speaker has worked before, and call some past clients to see if they are willing to leave a positive review. Again, a speaker who is hesitant to list past clients is likely not someone you want to do business with.

Ask for thought leadership. Most speakers are also publishers, and checking out your speaker’s blog posts and e-books is a good way to feel out how well he or she knows the industry.

Ask your gut. Your intuition is not something you want to ignore. You need a speaker you’ll feel good about working with—and if your gut tells you that a particular speaker just isn’t the one, that’s reason enough to continue the search.

Looking for a Speaker?

As a footnote, let me affirm that I’m more than willing to chat with you about my own experience and credentials; get in touch with me about your next conference or event!

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