How to Choose a Keynote Speaker

Choosing the right keynote speaker

How to Choose a Keynote Speaker

This guest post is from Anna Mendez. Anna began her career working for an event planning company. Today, she is one of the company’s top event planners and has booked several keynote speakers.

Almost every event requires a keynote speaker. A keynote speaker’s role is to deliver a speech crafted to pull the event together around a uniting message, concept or theme. Choosing the right keynote speaker for your event can be a nerve-wracking process, especially if it is the first time you have done so. But, it doesn’t have to be stressful if you follow these simple steps.

First, you have to determine a few factors about the keynote speakers you are interested in. Are they relatable? Do they make you laugh (or cry, or whatever emotional response you are hoping for)? Is their fee within your budget; if not, are they willing to work with you? These and other considerations can take the guesswork out of choosing the right keynote speaker for your next event.

Agency Versus Solo Search

One of the first things you’ll want to decide is whether you plan to use a speakers bureau to help you find your speaker or whether you are going to do the work yourself. Perhaps you have a team of people who are in charge of planning the event and one of them has some experience with hiring a speaker. Maybe you have a few speakers in mind and you’d like to contact them before you reach out to a bureau. On the other hand, maybe you are new to hiring speakers and you want an expert to handle the process for you. These considerations can help you decide whether to hire a professional agency to find your speaker. Keep in mind that while the agency will likely offer a higher price for the speaker than you would get if you contacted them directly, it is also not always possible to contact certain speakers directly if they have an agency contract. Also, with an agency, you have a guarantee that contracts will be honored and the money will be handled professionally.

In Person Versus Sight Unseen

The best way to screen motivational keynote speakers is to see them speak before you actually hire them. Sometimes this is possible if the speaker is speaking at an event near you. If you are able to do this, you will want to look for eye contact, clarity, how the speaker handles props and/or notes, audience engagement, sincerity and the overall content of the speech. You may have very specific needs — a speaker who can share serious topics in a humorous way, for example. If you are not able to see your selected speaker live, see if there is a video you can watch. You can ask for referrals from past clients and question how satisfied they were with the speaker. However, if you work with a speaker bureau, they often are able to provide these things.

Contract, Rider and Price

Before you seal the deal, you will want to thoroughly review your speaker’s contract, rider and price. The contract tells you who handles payment, when and how payment will be made, what happens if the unexpected occurs (the speaker gets sick, there is poor weather, etc.) as well as other aspects. Because agencies tend to use a standard contract, while speakers who book themselves may have a totally different contract, there is a great deal of variance within the industry. In the same way, the bigger “name” your chosen speaker has, the more detailed their technical rider is likely to be. There are certain stars rumored to ask for only certain brands of bottled water in their dressing room, for instance. Carefully review every detail, and if you also have a contract that the speaker needs to sign, be sure they are willing to sign yours before you commit to signing theirs.

About the Author:  Anna Mendez began her career working for an event planning company. Today, she is one of the company’s top event planners and has booked several keynote speakers.

>Why you need to network!


Description: Social Networking Source: own wor...  In my last post, I mentioned that Dave, like others leaving the public sector, doesn’t think networking will be the right thing for him. So today, I am going to write about the value of professional networking.

Everyone has a network of friends and contacts already.  Networks are not about exploiting people, they are about building and maintaining relationships.

In professional networking you are gathering information that may help you in your work, not just your job search.  You never know when you will need these relationships or when your contacts may need you and the information you have in return! Just like personal networks, professional networks are about reciprocal arrangements.  And personal networks and professional networks blend into each other in terms of people offering mutual support.
But let us deal with the issue of networking and job search! 

Most people leaving the UK public sector come from an environment where the rules require all new posts to be advertised.  While it is true that people find ways round the rules, that is expectation.  It is part of the culture.  

People can get very upset if they find a juicy public sector role has been filled without being advertised at least internally across the organization.  But those same people can get very upset if they a key role has been advertised outside the organization without looking first for someone inside the organization. That again is part of the corporate culture.  

In the world outside things are often different. 
As Ian Machan said here recently probably between 30% – 80% of all jobs, never get advertised – the iceberg factor.  If you spend your time just on the advertised vacancies, you have less chance of getting a post because there is far more competition for those roles. 

If you spend at least some time on the hidden, less competitive vacancies, you are raising your chances of success.  

So, it is wise to take a balanced approach, between applying for advertised posts and exploring the “hidden market.
Jobs that don’t get advertised usually get filled in one of three ways:
  • Recruitment Consultants search their files of registered applicants who are suitable candidates
  • Direct approach through networks of personal contacts and head-hunters (who again often rely on their own wide networks of contacts).
  • Previous applicantsunsolicited CVs received or near-miss candidates from previous advertising campaigns.

Small-to-medium-sized organizations (SMEs) may never advertise their jobs nationally – or at all. With far smaller recruitment budgets, these organisations prefer local or specialist publications, recruitment agencies, unsolicited and direct applications or people found through contacts.
In some larger organizations, again not all vacancies are advertised!  This is so particularly in competitive areas such as public relations, journalism or consultancy work. Employers expect applicants to take the initiative.
Some organizations prefer to hire someone we
ll known to contacts as being capable of doing a good job against the risk of an unknown “best” candidate. 

The degree of formality around filling even quite senior posts can vary widely.  This may come as something of a shock to former public sector employees.
Networking is critical in accessing this hidden market. 

There is a huge amount to be gained from developing your contacts in terms of gathering industry knowledge and hearing about these never-advertised positions.
A professional network is not just a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have source of new work, support, advice, ideas and consolation. So, strengthen relationships with people you already know and put some energy into meeting new people.
My next post will deal with your online presence, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and the rest—they’re not just for teenagers, they are efficient and effective ways to stay in touch with a whole lot of people and to find new opportunities.

In the mean time if you need advice about networking please get in touch – my contact details are below or you can use the contact form here.