Friday, 17 August 2018 08:13   |   Read 4516 times

Booking a keynote speaker is easy. Booking the right keynote speaker can be make-or-break for your event.

The events industry has evolved, with audiences becoming increasingly more sophisticated and with more complex objectives. The professional speaker industry has evolved too. While motivational speakers are still incredibly popular, the availability of niche expertise speakers that can effectively connect with your clients and deliver on a more specific brief has grown enormously.

That’s why we’ve devised this simple 6-Step process to help you book a keynote speaker for your next event!

1) Start with the outcome

Define what the desired audience outcomes are. Do you want your sales team to have actionable new techniques to increase engagement? How about ensuring your execs have a plan to tackle disruption in their industry?

A good keynote speaker will be able to work with you and your client to craft and customise their message and their key takeaways to provide tangible value.

If you’re able to clearly define what you want the outcome to be, it makes booking the right professional speaker that much easier.

2) Go beyond motivation & inspiration

If you’ve defined solid outcomes, then it becomes easier to book a keynote speaker who’ll be able to align their message to your event.

Inspirational speakers are still fantastic, and there will always be great reasons to hire someone who can really fire up the audience and ensure they walk away on a high.

But if you’ve got a leadership team that needs guidance, find the best leadership speaker you can. If the organization wants to stay relevant, a futurist speaker or a innovation speaker might help guide the way.

Professional speakers are now available for almost any market niche. If you need a resilience speaker, or a change speaker, you’re covered. If you want a specialist in doing business in China, that’s absolutely available.

In short, get creative about what kind of keynote speaker will be the right fit for your audience!

3) Finding your professional speaker

Just as speakers themselves are diversifying their content, how you search for a keynote speaker has changed dramatically.

Speaker agency and speaker bureau: what’s the difference?

A speaker agency generally represents a small number of speakers and goes beyond just finding them events. They organise logistics, assist with marketing and usually take care of everything except actually getting up on stage.

Speaker agencies tend to represent more expensive speakers, but you’re usually getting a highly credible and professional speaker that you know you can rely on.

Speaker bureaus can have thousands of speakers on the books, but don’t directly represent the speaker. Sales agents at speaker bureaus tend to find multiple speakers that might be suitable, and put forward a proposal.

Bureaus rarely take care of logistics, but they have a wide range of speakers to choose from.

Independent speaker marketers (like ourselves!) operate somewhere in the middle. We don’t take a commission on speaker bookings, and we don’t handle logistics; you work directly with the speaker.

And finally, you can always find and engage speakers directly.

With the rise of niche speakers, so too has speaker representation become more niche; which is why you’re currently on a site full of Australian professional speakers available for US events!

Narrowing your list of professional speakers

Once you have a shortlist of speakers that might suit your event, it’s time to narrow it down your top three candidates. Professional speakers usually have the following tools to help you make a decision:

  • Showreel or sizzle reel; typically less than three minutes, this gives you a sense of what it would be like working with that speaker
  • Full keynote videos; these can be an hour or more long, but give you a real example of how they engage on stage
  • Speaker kit; if they’re super organized, they’ll have a bundle of all the info that you might need. It might include any or all of the following:
  • Speaker bio
  • Topics overview
  • Testimonials
  • Videos
  • A/V Requirements
  • MC Intro doc
  • Fees/Rates
  • Media appearances
  • Contact details

Of these, testimonials are extremely important. Although as marketers, we tend to want short and punchy testimonials, it can be extremely informative to read those that say more than just “She was brilliant” and provide solid feedback on how the keynote speaker had an impact on their event.

Once you’re certain you’ve made the right choice, get in touch and start the booking process.

4) How else can your professional speaker maximize value?

Although it’s absolutely normal to simply book a keynote speaker to open or close an event, or to run specific sessions, professional speakers can usually find ways to add extra value to your event.

  • Leadership speakers might run a workshop for management and executives
  • Sales speakers could facilitate a breakout session for appropriate team members
  • Speakers with an entertainment focus (such as impersonators & comedians, singers, adventurers) could maintain the energy in an informal setting: a lunch, dinner or drinks mini-event

There’s a lot of potential areas in which your chosen keynote speaker might be able to make your event even more memorable and exciting. Get creative, and make your event really stand out!

5) Communication right up until the day of your event

Your job isn’t quite done yet!

Whether you’re dealing with a speakers bureau, speakers agency or are booking direct, the success of your event is up to you, so you need to ensure everyone has what they need.

For example, just because you’ve hired a brilliant leadership speaker, it doesn’t necessarily follow that they’ll be a highly capable logistics person.

Make sure you’re clear about dates & times:

  • Book in proper briefing calls
  • Check in with the speaker from time to time in the lead-up to the event to see if there’s anything they need (keeping your event front-of-mind)
  • Send calendar invites for the date(s) of your event (hint: set notifications with enough leeway for travel time)
  • Schedule the speaker to be present during AV testing: (they’ll want to get a sense of the room, the audio guys will want to make sure their levels and slides are just right)
  • Make sure they know how long their keynote session should be

Make sure they’re briefed in on the audience and know what outcomes are required.

Truly professional speakers are usually pretty good at this side of the job, but by keeping up the lines of communication it makes both your job and theirs easier; no frantic last-minute calls to figure out how to get backstage!

6) After the event…

Once the dust has settled from your extraordinary event, it’s worth soliciting feedback and passing it onto the speaker - maintaining the relationship after the event is over can help you dramatically in the future. Most keynote speakers have more than one speaking topic; if they were a great fit this year, they’ll be great again next year with a different topic!

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether you’re hiring a motivational speaker, a business speaker, or a performance expert: by ensuring you hire the right keynote speaker for your event, and making sure they have the tools to succeed, you set yourself up for event success.