If you’re holding a conference, then you should get a keynote speaker to bring it to the next level.
Like a nice rug, a keynote speaker can be the thing that ties your whole conference together. A big name, a knowledgeable force, and an entertaining presence are all qualities that a keynote will have. But, how do you find the right person to bring in and handle this big responsibility?
Many people misconstrue what a keynote speaker is. They know that it’s someone that comes in and speaks to your audience for about an hour and collects a massive paycheck. There’s a lot more to it than that, though. A keynote speaker is not merely a token presenter meant to inspire your audience before they leave.
A good keynote speech will sum up the entire essence of why you’re all gathering at this conference. In 45 minutes to an hour, they’ll inspire, entertain, and bring a fresh perspective to your industry and the professionals that you’ve gathered.
In this post, we’re going to further discuss why you should book a keynote speaker at your conference and what you can do to help them make the keynote address one to remember. Let’s find you the perfect keynote speaker, shall we?
Table of Contents
Why Get a Keynote Speaker?
A conference without a keynote speaker can still work. As long as you get the right presenters and a group of professionals that understand their industry on a very specific and elevated level, then a keynote might not be necessary.
However, a great keynote speaker can take a good conference and make it special. If you want to leave people wondering how you pulled off your conference, then ending it with an entertaining and thought-provoking keynote from an undeniable force in the industry is the clear way to go.
So, how do you find the right keynote speaker? What makes a great keynote speech?
They Bring Credibility
First, the person needs to have credibility and immediately garner the respect of everyone in the room based on their credentials. Without saying a word, your attendees should be interested in what this person has to say. It should feel pertinent to why they showed up to this conference.
From there, your speaker should have charisma and an ability to disarm an audience. Someone like this lively presenter, Andrew Neil, is a media broadcaster that uses wry humor and insight to speak on a variety of topics ranging from business strategy to the political landscape.
It can be tense when someone is about to speak at length on a subject that the entire room knows at least a little something about. It should feel like they’re speaking to some old friends or family members, not a group of strangers.
They Bring a Fascinating Perspective
They should be able to approach their topic from a fresh perspective that isn’t obvious to your attendees. It should be unique and through the lens of their personal and professional experiences. Attendees should leave the conference feeling invigorated by what the keynote address stirred up in them.
A great keynote speech will act as a vehicle for change in your industry. It won’t necessarily provide instructions on how to make positive change, but it should inspire the want for positive change.
Let’s look at some criteria that you should have prepared when selecting a keynote speaker.
Things to Consider
Before you hire a keynote speaker, you should have some qualifications in mind so that you get the right speaker in the room. If you get someone that doesn’t make sense, your audience will leave the conference with a confusing taste in their mouths. It’s going to require a lot of thought on your part to get this right.
Know Your Audience
The first thing you should do is consider who your audience is. Is this conference a fundraiser? Is it a sales conference? Is it a shareholder gala?
What do you want to accomplish with your keynote? Consider what type of presentation is going to come across the best. If you’re doing a fundraiser, lean towards a charismatic speaker. If it’s a sales conference, get someone that can deliver a motivating speech. If it’s a gala, someone that inspires thoughtfulness.
No one knows what you need for your conference better than you, so choose a keynote speaker that makes sense for your audience. If it’s industry-specific, make sure that the keynote’s resume speaks for itself.
What Should the Takeaway Be?
You should have an idea of the direction that you want the speaker to take with their words. Work with the speaker that you choose to determine what the audience’s takeaway should be. Most good keynote speakers will deliver their client a copy of their speech before delivering it to an audience.
Being able to work alongside the speaker rather than be at their mercy will go a long way to ensuring that the keynote will be a success. It’s good practice to have some thoughts formulated when you’re narrowing down between speakers.
This will help you in the screening process and better your chance of getting the right speaker.
Experience and Expertise
When you’ve considered what your audience will want as a whole and what you want the takeaway to be, then consider how the speaker’s resume fits in. Understanding the difference between a tech CEO and a wall street tycoon will help you choose the right candidate.
Do some research on your candidates, as well. How did they get to where they are? Did they rise up the ranks with a brash and cutthroat attitude or by being methodical and patient? There’s value in both, but you should choose what will work best for what you want to get across to your audience.
For example, Mark Cuban might best deliver a speech about being cunning and opportunistic, but Larry Page would deliver one about the value of creativity and sticking to your guns. Both would make great keynote speakers but deliver very different messages.
Find Your Keynote Speaker
Finding the right keynote speaker for your conference isn’t always easy, but now you know why it’s worthwhile to get one. Don’t hesitate too long, contact us for your keynote speaker today and take your event to the next level.