Finding the right keynote speakers might be a downright daunting (if not terrifying) feat for some. Unless you know the speaker industry, you really might have no idea how to choose and what to look for. If you were assigned to find a speaker for your event and you have absolutely no idea what to do, don’t give up and don’t tell your boss you can’t do it—because it’s easy. Just follow this basic five-point guide to hiring a keynote speaker, and you will do just fine.
First, consider the objectives of the activity. The type of activity, naturally, influences your objectives. Are you having an awards night, an incentive gathering, a training session, or an annual meeting? Categorizing the type of activity you will hold might be easy, but pegging down your specific objectives might require some work. Whatever you are trying to achieve—to boost morale, to inspire, to just spread some pure fun for your employees—will be a crucial consideration in choosing your keynote speakers. Before searching around for speakers, ask yourself this question first; this will make the process easier and more productive.
Second, know your audience. Having worked with them, you should have a pretty good idea of what speakers they would prefer. If you are in a large company, you can consult department heads to help you determine more or less what your audience would be like. But aside from the personal preferences of your target audience, remember that you might require specialist keynote speakers in some cases. If your audience is familiar with the subject already, you can opt for a less technical speaker. Otherwise, you would have to fill in the gaps with the expertise of your keynote speakers.
Third, don’t limit your search—don’t just jump at the first speaker you find. Remember that whichever speaker you choose would be your mouthpiece at the event. The speaker of your choice would be at the center of everyone’s attention. Naturally, you should make sure that you do a stringent search process. The more prospective speakers you have, the better—in the same way you would welcome as many applicants as possible for a vacancy in the company. This would allow you to choose the best from a larger pool of talents.
Fourth, make sure you ask for a test run. Don’t be afraid to ask your speakers for sample performances—after all, you will be paying them if they do great. Preferably, the sample performances should be held before a small section of your audience. This way, you can gauge both the skill of your speaker and the receptiveness of your audience. Furthermore, you won’t have to take them at their word—you can see for yourself if they will be effective. After all, a professional speaker would never shy away from a request like this. If your prospective speaker seems overly reluctant, he might be hiding something, and it might be best to stay away.
Fifth, ask around to know the reputation of your prospective keynote speakers. Whether it’s a celebrity or a professional speaker, it is best to know who you’re hiring. This is because aside from his skill in public speaking, you would also have to consider the speaker’s work ethic. Ask past clients if they have had issues with the speaker, and determine if they were satisfied with his work. You might be able to identify some red flags here, helping you choose the best speaker for your event. This way, you won’t have to rely on reviews posted on the speaker’s own site—which the unscrupulous might use to post bogus reviews and comments.