Selecting a Keynote Speaker
The voice of your brand
How to choose a good keynote speaker
You’ve got some good ideas for your conference and no doubt have spent a lot of money setting it up. You’ve probably engaged somebody to organise the venue, the catering and the message of the meeting. Now it’s time to think about someone who’s going to convey that message to your attendees.
Do you want someone who’s famous? Do you want someone who is currently in the news? Do you want someone with academic credentials? Or do you need someone who doesn’t cost all that much?
Whoever you get, you need to make sure that they are clear about the message that you are trying to get across about your brand.Do you want it to be conveyed in a serious way? In a humorous way? Decide and be sure you can clearly convey that to the speaker.
One of the things you need to think about first is who your keynote speaker will be talking to. By that I mean the demographic and the psychographic of your attendees. Any good keynote speaker will do their homework and should question you on that.
They also need to know how long they need to speak and at what time they'll be called up to speak during the event. Are they opening or closing your conference? Are they rousing the troops or calming a crisis? Be sure to let them know.
Usually the person you book to be the keynote speaker will be first approached through their agency. You’ll need to handle all the negotiations directly with their agent. This is usually easy if they have an agent, as it is the agent's job to professionally guide you and clarify your request and gather the appropriate information for the speaker to action it. However if your speaker is a local constituent or someone from your company, you’ll need to sort things out yourself.
To make sure you get the right speaker, I highly recommend that you do some serious research. A lot hinges on the impression that your keynote speaker makes on your audience. Check to see that your speaker is what you think they are. A lot of keynote speakers have their own website as well as videos on the websites of their agents. Take the time to view them to check out the style and content and see if it suits your occasion.
A keynote speaker is called a keynote speaker because they set the "key note" for the "music" of your conference or event. Therefore the more fully you can brief them on the impression you want to get across, the better they will be able to perform for you. Speakers take a lot of pride in doing a good job. After all, their next meal depends on their performance this time around.Do not patronise them. Trust them.
You’ll probably be flabbergasted at the amount of money keynote speakers get paid for what appears to be a very short period of time on stage. It is the years of experience, their reputation and the preparation time that you are paying for, as well as the time they are taking out of their life to come to your event. Don’t begrudge paying it. However do expect to get what you pay for.
Keynote speakers are people just like anybody else and they enjoy being praised for a job well done, so if they’ve done a good job, write them a hearty testimonial and thank them. It will make you and your company look good not only in their eyes, but set a friendly precedent for future engagement situations.