speaker in conference
Source: freepik.com

How to Find a Keynote Speaker Who Won’t Put Your Audience to Sleep

You’ve been handed the dubious honor of organizing your company’s big event. It’s your job to find the perfect keynote speaker. Congratulations! Because, let’s face it, you now get to decide whether your colleagues will have an epiphany or an extra nap during the conference.

Finding a keynote speaker who can hold the attention of a room full of people seems like an impossible task. It’s like asking a toddler to sit still in a candy store. But hey, it’s not that bad. It could be worse. You could be the one giving the keynote. Let’s dive in and figure out how to find someone who won’t make your audience contemplate their life choices.

Know Your Audience – Yes, Really

First things first. Who are these people you’re trying to impress? Are they industry veterans, fresh graduates, or the usual mix of humans who’ll sneak out at the first sign of boredom? Knowing your audience is crucial. Don’t just assume they’re like you because, news flash, they’re not.

  • Industry Veterans: They’ve seen it all. Bring in someone with fresh insights and new research.
  • Newbies: They’re eager to learn. Find a speaker who can inspire and educate without talking down to them.
  • The Usual Mix: You’ll need someone versatile, able to appeal to the seasoned pros without losing the newbies.

Your audience’s preferences can vary widely, so it’s essential to select a speaker who aligns with their interests. For instance, if your event focuses on technological advancements, consider a speaker who can engage and inform, such as Keynote Speaker Artificial Intelligence, who brings expertise and energy to the topic of AI.

Research, Research, and More Research

Source: freepik.com

Google is your friend. So are YouTube and LinkedIn. Look up potential speakers, watch their past presentations, and check their social media presence. If they have the charisma of a wet sponge on camera, they’ll be ten times worse in person.

Things to Look For

  • Past Speaking Engagements: Have they spoken at similar events? Were the reviews positive or full of polite “that was interesting” comments?
  • Speaking Style: Are they engaging or do they drone on like an old professor?
  • Audience Interaction: Do they interact with the audience, or are they glued to their PowerPoint slides?

Avoid the Cliché Traps

We’ve all been there – sitting through one of those keynotes where the speaker kicks things off with some boring old dictionary definition, am I right? It’s like, come on, give us something new! We don’t want to hear the same old clichés that we’ve heard a million times before.

What we really want is someone who’s got a fresh take, someone who’s not afraid to think outside the box and bring a unique perspective to the table. You know, someone who can really captivate the audience and keep us engaged, rather than just lulling us to sleep with the same tired old lines.

The Art of Vetting

interview with speaker
Source: freepik.com

You’ve shortlisted a few candidates. Great! Now comes the vetting process. This isn’t just about checking their credentials. You need to dig deeper.

Here’s How

  • Phone Interviews: Yes, actual conversations. Get a feel for their personality and style.
  • References: Ask for references from past clients. If they can’t provide any, that’s a red flag.
  • Live Auditions: If possible, attend one of their talks in person. Nothing beats seeing them live.

Avoid the Sales Pitchers

There’s nothing worse than a keynote speaker who turns their talk into a 90-minute infomercial. You want someone who can share valuable insights without constantly plugging their latest book or consulting service. Subtlety, folks, is key.

Personality Matters

Remember, your keynote speaker is not just delivering a talk; they’re setting the tone for the entire event. They need to have a personality that resonates with your audience. Are they funny? Great, as long as their humor isn’t at the expense of anyone in the room. Are they serious and thoughtful? Perfect, as long as they’re not going to make everyone feel like they’re in a funeral.

Test Run with a Small Group

test speaker
Source: freepik.com

Before you sign any contracts, arrange a test run with a small group from your audience. This can be a short 15-minute session where the speaker can showcase their material and style. Gather feedback from the group. If they’re bored out of their minds after 15 minutes, imagine what 60 minutes will do.

Flexibility is Key

Your speaker needs to be flexible. Things can and will go wrong. Maybe the projector dies, or there’s an unexpected fire drill. Can your speaker roll with the punches, or will they crumble under pressure? Ask them about a time they had to deal with a speaking disaster. Their response will tell you a lot.

Consider the Logistics

A great speaker is more than just a talking head. They need to work with your event’s logistics. Will they need special equipment? Do they have a tendency to wander off stage? Make sure you’re prepared for their specific needs.

The Contract

make a contract
Source: freepik.com

You’ve found the one. The keynote speaker who’s going to make your event unforgettable. Before you pop the champagne, get everything in writing. The contract should cover:

  • Fee: Obviously. Make sure there are no hidden costs.
  • Travel and Accommodation: Who’s covering this?
  • Cancellation Policy: What happens if they cancel at the last minute?
  • Technical Requirements: Do they need any special equipment?
  • Recording Rights: Can you record their talk for future use?

Final Thoughts

Finding the perfect keynote speaker is a bit like dating. There are plenty of fish in the sea, but you don’t want to end up with a catfish. Do your homework, trust your instincts, and remember: if they sound too good to be true, they probably are.

Good luck, and may your event be the one that people talk about for all the right reasons.

Quick Checklist

  • Know your audience
  • Research potential speakers thoroughly
  • Avoid clichés and sales pitches
  • Vet candidates rigorously
  • Consider their personality and flexibility
  • Test run with a small group
  • Plan for logistics
  • Get everything in writing

Remember, the right keynote speaker can make or break your event. Choose wisely, and don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions. Your audience is counting on you, and so is your sanity.

About Ivan Hancko