The right speaker can help boost attendance at your event, reinforce key messages and build your brand. The wrong speaker is not only a waste of time and money, they can also severely damage your guests’ perception of you, your organisation, your event and your sponsors.
Step 1: Know your audience
If you understand your audience, you will be able to choose the right speaker for them. Ask yourself the following questions about your audience.
- Why will they be attending your event?
- What will they hope to gain from the event?
- What interests them?
- What is their age-bracket?
- What is the gender split?
- Where do they live?
- What is their job role and level?
- What is their industry?
Step 2: Define your objectives
Aim to have clearly defined speaker-objectives before you approach anybody. If your objectives are broad (such as to inform, entertain, inspire or motivate your audience), try to refine them. For example, how informed should your audience be? And what exactly do you want to inform them of? And why
Step 3: Research speakers
Once you know your audience and objectives, you’re likely to have a shortlist of potential speakers. It’s time to do some digging: Are they the best value for money? How will they achieve your goals? How personalised or generic will the speech be? Will they add value to the event overall? Have you or anyone on your team heard them speak in the past?
Step 4: Approach potential speakers
Prepare a brief that outlines your event, objectives and audience. Your actual approach will then depend on the speaker: should you contact them directly, or through an agent? Search ‘speakers bureaus’ on the internet to see if the speakers on your shortlist are professionally represented.