When planning any big event, many factors can affect the overall tone – and success – of the event. Choosing the proper venue, music, printed materials, food options, and even dress codes are all part of the planning process. However, the most important factor in achieving the desired tone for your event may be the keynote speaker. The right keynote speaker will help to develop the theme for the event, get your audience excited, and let them know what to expect during the event. The keynote speaker can make or break the whole event, so it is important to choose wisely.
What to Look for in a Keynote Speaker
Long before your event even begins, you must research so you can choose the right keynote speaker. Look for leaders and influencers in your industry, but also make sure that they are relevant and knowledgeable to the particular topic or theme of your event. Also, they must be experienced and skilled in public speaking, not just an industry leader. A keynote speaker needs the ability to successfully draw people to your event, capture their interest, and inspire them to engage in the rest of the event.
Plan well in advance of your event and contact potential speakers months ahead of time. The norm is now to book speakers six to twelve months before your event date, but can sometimes be shorter than that, depending on the particular event and industry. Consider your needs in a keynote speaker – would it be more inspiring to have a corporate leader, or a motivational speaker? Think about your audience and the theme and tone of your event when coming up with ideas for guest speakers. Make sure to also budget properly for the caliber of speaker you hope to book, as some can command expensive fees.
If possible, attend events with keynote speakers you are seeking out, to see them in action. Take note of their speaking style and how the audience is responding. This isn’t always possible, but if you can check them out beforehand, it can help you make decisions about which speakers to go after. If you can’t attend in person, check out videos online of past events and speeches to give you a good idea of the speaker’s style.
Marketing Your Event With the Keynote Speaker
When booking your key speakers, find out if they would be willing to participate in some pre- and post-event marketing. These efforts can go a long way toward attracting your audience, and getting them excited for the event. Advertise your keynote speaker long before the event. Use a good photo of your speaker, and get an attention-grabbing quote, exciting speaking points, and/or a list of past accomplishments from him or her. Encourage your speaker to post on their social media about the event beforehand, attracting more followers.
A published interview or article pre-event is also helpful to build excitement. Find out if your speaker would also be willing to make an appearance at a pre-event luncheon or social hour as well. These pre-event appearances give part of your audience a small taste of what is to come at the main event.
Qualities of Successful Keynote Speakers
At your event, the impact of your chosen keynote speaker, as well as other event speakers, should be easy to see. A good keynote address will wow your audience, and garner enthusiasm for the other sessions and speakers to follow. A world-class speaker has a magnetic quality that enthralls audiences with their energy and enthusiasm for the topics at hand. Watching a skilled speaker is much more powerful than just reading a blog or article with the same information.
Your conference will likely have lots of other speakers, breakout sessions, luncheons, panel discussions, and dinners or cocktail hours, that each provides more detailed, relevant information to your event-goers. But the keynote speaker sets the tone for the whole conference. It’s not the main speaker’s job to provide detailed information or give an overview of everything to come, but a good speaker will motivate the audience about the main topic, and give examples of how the audience can incorporate the topics and ideas of the event into their daily lives – whether it’s more personal or career based.
How a Keynote Inspires
The right keynote address will be inspiring, and show audience members how to use the information they gather at the conference, as well as why it is important. A good keynote speaker will also be entertaining, and enjoyable for your audience to listen to. This speech is the first impression of your event for most of your attendees, so it is important to have a charismatic speaker who will reflect the overall tone of your event and inspire further participation.
Although a keynote speaker does not need to provide an overall outline or overview of other speakers and events to come, the energy and information from their presentation should inspire audience members to participate in other events, and interact with each other. If your event features small-group classes, discussion groups, or vendors, attendees will be more likely to be more involved in these following events. They will be excited to approach vendors and fellow attendees to practice what they’ve learned.
Almost as important as the keynote address, a closing speaker for an event is another important anchor to choose wisely. The closing speaker should bookend the event with the keynote, providing concluding thoughts, and tying in the main topics presented. The closing speaker should also be exciting and inspiring, encouraging audience members to go back to their lives or careers with the knowledge and experiences they’ve gained at your conference.
Shapiro Negotiations offers services that can help your business or conference be successful. SNI can provide resources and keynote speakers for your next event, conference, or retreat. Our in-house presenters are informative and entertaining, and we have the connections and resources to reach out and find the right keynote speaker for your event. Contact us today for more information.