Booking a keynote speaker for your event can seem daunting when you’re starting your search. There are so many speakers and endless conferences. The trick to pinpointing the right speaker is by understanding not only what your audience wants to hear, but also finding a keynote speaker with the correct energy. Because it’s not just about booking a speaker with years of experience, they have to be the type of person your attendees will like.
By James Robinson
There are a few ways to approach a speaker search.
1) Ask your colleagues who attend conferences if they’ve heard some excellent speakers recently. Chances are they have. Write down those names and study their speaker video samples, read their bios and see which events have booked them. It’s also worth calling those event organizers for a chat about, to make sure the actual conference planners were happy with them. Speakers that are great on stage can be a nightmare to work with, so make sure you have the correct off-stage information as well.
2) Next, rely on your own market knowledge. If this isn’t the first time you’ve booked a speaker, your own taste can be a fantastic resource. Again, remember that a keynote speaker must be good on stage and off, because the weeks of planning before the event can be disastrous if you’re working with someone who is too busy or too important. Running the checks is the key. And if your speaker has no time for your attendees, or has a laundry list of requirements at the event, you’ll regret every minute of booking them.
3) Of course, you can always contact an experienced speakers bureau agent. Although many event planners view this as a last resort, it’s important to be aware of two things.
a) Agents are paid by the speaker, so the added cost to you is nothing, but the value added is tremendous if you’re working with an experienced speaker agent with good taste and an excellent track record. Therefore, a trusted agent should really be your first step when you start the search.
b) The second thing to remember is that agencies study the market every day. Their network is huge, and their market knowledge will be hard to beat, especially when they’re weeding out the conferences divas from the conference super stars. They’ve seen and heard many nightmares, so don’t be quick to discount this fantastic resource. Speaking agents are professionals, and some are highly qualified.
I hope these tips on booking keynote speakers has shed some light on the business, and perhaps made the task a little less daunting.
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