How to Choose the Right Speaker for Your Event

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Posted on April 12, 2024

Choosing the right guest speaker for your event is crucial. A great speaker can capture the audience’s attention, add value and become the highlight of the evening. Their presence can generate excitement and build momentum when you’re ready to advertise your conference. 

Investing time in selecting a quality speaker is key to achieving the best outcomes. Yet, how can you ensure you choose the right one? As an event planner, there are several steps you can take to guarantee the success of your choice.

1. Understand the Audience

Who will be in attendance? Knowing your audience matters. A qualified guest speaker will ensure the content they deliver is relevant and interesting to the audience. 

Consider your audience’s demographics and the type of speaker they may prefer. For instance, a tech-savvy crowd might appreciate a speaker who can dive into the latest technological trends. 

Meanwhile, a group of entrepreneurs may prefer someone specializing in startup culture. They may want a speaker who can inspire them and provide fundamental insights into building a business. The key is to find someone who will excite your audience with fresh ideas according to their expectations.

3. Define Your Event Goals

Another important aspect to consider is the main objective of the event. Having a specific goal in mind will direct you toward someone who can help you find success. 

Whether you aim to educate or inspire, understanding your goal narrows down the best-fitting speaker. For instance, suppose you’re hosting a charity event. At the end of the day, the guest speaker should embody and uphold the values central to the event’s purpose.

What if the event aims to motivate an audience toward personal development? A speaker with a compelling life story of overcoming challenges can inspire your audience to take action. 

Either way, setting your event’s main purpose is essential to choosing a speaker who can deliver an exceptional experience and message you want your audience to have.

4. Budget Appropriately

You must also consider your budget when choosing a speaker. Budgeting helps you understand financial constraints, ensuring you find a speaker whose fees align with your allowance. While high-profile speakers can add value, their fees may exceed what you can afford. Knowing your budget limits allows you to explore various options, including emerging talents who will present at a more affordable price.

It’s also important to consider all related expenses, such as travel and accommodation for the speaker. Sometimes, sponsors can manage these costs down to avoid overspending. However, it’s better to focus more on quality than the cost — but budgeting can ensure you maximize the event’s impact.

5. Consider the Speaker’s Expertise

The next thing you want to consider is a speaker’s credibility. This factor is crucial because their knowledge can keep your audience engaged and interested throughout the event. When a speaker is a recognized authority figure, their insights can capture an audience and make the session more informative. As such, their expertise guarantees high-quality content deliverability and builds trust with the audience.

6. Research Your Speakers Thoroughly

Thorough research is necessary when selecting a speaker to ensure they fulfill all the requirements you’re looking for. Start by watching videos of their previous presentations to assess their speaking style and engagement ability. You’ll quickly see whether they can capture and maintain the attendees’ attention.

Additionally, it helps to explore their activity on social media and blogs. These platforms will give you a glimpse into their recent work and how they interact with their followers. It can also reveal their values and whether these align with the message and tone of your event. 

7. Assess their Experience

How much experience a guest speaker has is also critical to ensuring they’re the right fit. While an experienced speaker has more knowledge depth in their field, they’ll also have a better chance of connecting with your audience. 

Their experience is also vital for handling unforeseen situations gracefully. For instance, they may receive some unexpected questions or technical difficulties. A seasoned speaker knows how to maintain composure and keep the audience engaged, even when things don’t go as planned. 

When evaluating a speaker’s experience, consider the types and sizes of events they’ve spoken at previously. Have they addressed audiences similar to yours? Use these insights to judge their potential impact on the event. 

8. Check Availability and Flexibility

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few options, confirm the speaker’s availability on the event date. An essential step in your selection process, you should also discuss their flexibility if the event needs to move to a different date. Depending on how famous or in-demand the speaker is, you may need to book them six months to one year in advance

Additionally, it’s beneficial to understand if the speaker is open to engaging in other event-related activities, including:

  • Panel discussions
  • Workshops
  • Meet-and-greet sessions.

These interactions can enrich the event experience and provide additional value to your audience. 

Know Where to Find Guest Speakers

Once you understand the type of speaker you want for the event, you’ll want to know the places you can find them. Several avenues to explore include:

  • Professional speaker bureaus: These organizations represent diverse speakers specializing in various topics. They can help you find a speaker that fits your budget and event theme, providing a hassle-free way to secure a reputable speaker.
  • Industry conferences and events: Attending these events can give you an idea of the standout speakers in your industry. You can see them in action and gauge their audience engagement firsthand.
  • Academic institutions: Professors and researchers can be excellent speakers, especially for educational events. They’re often experts and can provide incredible knowledge of specific topics.
  • Online platforms: Websites like LinkedIn, TEDx and YouTube can help you discover speakers who have given talks. Their online presence can also give you a sense of their speaking style and expertise. 
  • Networking: Use referrals from your professional network and ask for recommendations. Ensure you’re specific in the type of speaker you’re looking for so you’re more likely to receive a better match.

Create an Impactful Event With the Right Speaker

Selecting the right speaker is an important decision that shapes your event’s success. You must consider various aspects to find one that aligns with your event and captivates your attendees. With the right speaker, you can create an unforgettable experience and leave a lasting impact on all who attend. So, choose wisely and ensure they understand what you need to thrive.

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