Why having a guest speaker can improve your event

When planning an event, the keynote speaker should be a big focus. A guest speaker can be used in many ways; they can open the event, run breakout sessions, lead team-building sessions or even provide a motivational talk after dinner. But if you pick the right one for your event, who will engage with your audience then a guest speaker is likely to play a memorable part for your delegates.

There are many options to choose from, depending on what your event and client needs are. Speakers are available to focus on teamwork, customer service, driving sales, leadership, management etc. They have a range of styles and approaches and so you need to select the speaker that is right for your event and helps to meet your objectives.

What do I need to consider when choosing a professional speaker?

  • Identify the objectives and theme of your event – what are you looking to deliver and achieve? You might be organising a product launch with the objective to educate or organising an annual conference with the objective to motivate and inspire. Your guest speaker should then align with these key factors.
  • Think about the role that you would like the speaker to play in the overall event – are they just setting the tone, are they driving an education message or are they to provide a motivational talk after dinner?
  • Then consider your audience. You need to make sure that the speaker you choose will be the type of speaker that your audience will listen and respond to.
  • Consider the experience of your guest speaker – look at the events that they have appeared at, what they delivered and how they promoted the event or product that they were associated with.
  • Do you know any speakers that you have used in the past who would work well, or can you get any recommendations? A guest speaker is so important in setting the tone of your event and any previous experience of them is beneficial!
  •  Consider your venue. Do you need to consider speakers local to the venue and if not, you need to be aware that you would usually be expected to cover any travel and accommodation costs
  •  It may be worth taking out some extra Event Insurance coverage to protect you if a speaker were to let you down on the day. This is often referred to as Non-Appearance Cover.

What budget do I need to set aside?

This very much depends on the type of speaker that you are choosing and the role that you need them to play in the event. Once you have determined the requirements and detailed this in a brief it will be easier to get an understanding of budget required.

High profile and celebrity speakers are available and while they are well known, they also require a big budget but are not necessarily the best option. Focus on finding the right speaker for your audience even if you have the budget available for a celebrity.

What are the next steps?

  • Write a brief, detailing all the above. This will help form any discussion that you have either directly with the professional speakers that you consider or their agents.
  • Draw up a shortlist of speakers who meet the criteria that you have set in your brief.
  • Contact the speakers, visit their websites and speak to them if you can to identify if they are the right fit for your event. Enquire about their availability and what they will charge (be sure to understand exactly what this will include).
  • Consider the experience of your guest speaker – look at the events that they have appeared at, what they delivered and how they promoted the event or product that they were associated with.
  • When developing the keynote speech for your guest speaker, ensure that it encompasses all the elements that you and your client need it to. This will ensure that the messages being delivered throughout your event are consistent and accurate.

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