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Finding the Right Speaker For Your Event

First thing’s first: if you are here because you were looking for the right sound equipment for your event, we’ll have to reconsider our SEO approach.

Actually, today we want to shed some light on one of the most important things anyone should take into account when trying to the most out of their event – the choice of the right speaker. The one who will serve the purpose of the event in the best possible way, be that entertaining and animating your guests, making the event more enjoyable or educating them a bit on things that you deem important for your company, your brand or even the event itself.

Chances are that the attendees will associate him or her with your event in their memory

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No matter whether your guest speaker will be there only to make the keynote speech or their duties include performing the role of the MC or the moderator for your other speakers, chances are that the attendees will associate him or her with your event in their memory, since that is the way in which most of us humans relate to things – we tend to focus on human faces.

And we want those memories to be good and long-lasting memories, right? Therefore, the importance of the face who will welcome your guests, the voice who will be speaking to them and which will mark the entire event cannot be overstated.

So, here are some things that any good event manager should consider in order to choose the best speaker for any type of event.

Know Your Budget

This one should really go without saying. Event budgeting should be one of the first, if not the first step in any event planner’s notebook, and it should include the speaker’s fee and any accommodation costs, like travel tickets and accommodations like hotel arrangement. The budget available for all this will most likely be the greatest limitation you will face when searching for the ideal candidate.

Know Who You Need

Speakers at company events can roughly be grouped into three categories. These are: expert, entertainer or celebrity. Of course, there are many speakers who could be included into more then one of these categories – and I don’t necessarily mean Gordon Ramsey i.e. those who have become celebrities because of their expertize (and are quite entertaining to boot). If you are organizing a professional symposium, having a keynote speaker who is an expert in the field lends credence and credibility to the proceedings, but having an expert who can make an entertaining speech usually trumps having an expert who is well-known but uninspiring.

This basically boils down to the event basics we have discussed before – know what the event is about and know your audience. Knowing that will be enough for you to gauge whether the event (i.e. the attendees) requires an expert or an entertainer. And yes, celebrities are usually a subset of “entertainer”, but more expensive (except if you are, for some – perhaps budgetary - reason, going for D-listers like former reality show contestants).


The second first thing a good event planner should have pinned down before event organization commences is the date and time of the event. So, as soon as you know what your event is about, when and where it is and have the budget set, you should have enough to start looking for your speakers. Of course, experts and celebrities are pretty sought after, not only for this kind of functions, so it is really prudent to get this out of the way as soon as possible.

Get In Contact

There are several ways of getting in contact with people you would like to see as speakers at your event. Depending on the type of your speaker, there are specialized contact web sites and professional organizations. Celebrities and entertainers have their agents listed and prefer you would make the initial contact through them.

For experts in the field, the company behind the event and its employees should have a professional network necessary to get in contact. If that is not the case, experts are usually prominent in organizations they work for and should not be difficult to reach through those organizations – usually just checking the web site for contact info should do the trick.


The speaker at your event is no mere outside vendor. He or she should become a real partner in this process. Therefore, they should be briefed in detail regarding every aspect of the event that may pertain to their role (and sometimes this will mean literally everything about the event, from its purpose to its timetable).

Interviewing the speaker will help you immediately recognize whether you have made the right choice. They should ask questions about the needs of your audience and introduce helpful ideas, based on their previous experience or expertize.

Of course, it would be best if you could see them in action before ultimately deciding

Of course, like any hire, it would be best if you could see them in action before ultimately deciding, so check whether your speaker has some engagements in the time period between the interview and the event and go see them in action. There is nothing like being there personally in order to experience the difference a good speaker makes, so make an effort to go see them do their magic.

Of course, if that is not an option for some reason, video recording from previous engagements will do. And it never hurts to ask for opinions from those who have worked with the person you are considering.

Remember, what you should ultimately be looking for is a speaker who will tailor her or his presentation to your specific needs.

Finally, here is a convenient checklist of thing you need to discuss with your potential speaker, providing that you know the where, when and how much you can spend:

  • CV, testimonials and videos before a live audience.
  • The fee and whether it includes travel arrangements, Accommodations and meals
  • The speaker’s exact obligations (keynote, MCing, social events)
  • If he or she may sell products and if so, how this will be handled
  • An agreement regarding any audio or videotaping
  • Define social media requests or participation
  • Cancellation policies


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