How to Choose the Perfect Speaker for Your Next Event

Woman giving a speech on stage

Event speakers are an essential component of every event. They can help build a buzz, recruit attendees, and set the tone for the entire event. Due to their integral position, your event speaker should be chosen to provide exactly what your association needs, and the recruitment process should take these goals into consideration.

When choosing a presenter, associations need to consider several key elements about their event. They can then match speakers to session themes to ensure a cohesive event from start to finish. 

Though budget often plays a large role in the process, associations should ensure that quality is the most important consideration in their decisions. Because of this, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help your association simplify the process and find the perfect speaker for your next event!

1. Define and Align Values

The first step of this process requires your association to define its values and goals for the event. 

Think about the overall message of the event. You can use this as a basis for your speaker search. Your speaker should deliver something consistent with your overall message. 

Consider the timing of their presentation: where will it fall? Is it the kick-off, the midpoint, or the closing keynote speech?

Equipped with this information, finding a speaker to fit will be much easier. Get a feel for their material and how it might work with your audience. If their message would be best served to set the table for what’s to come, they might be best in one of your event’s opening slots. 

Don’t be afraid to voice what you want from your speaker, either. Let them know what your values and goals are and see how they believe they will fit. They may have suggestions you never thought of!

2. Understand Your Audience

The best speaker for your event is the one that will best satisfy your audience. For this to happen, you should know who your audience is and what they want

Wondering how to gather this information? 

Ask your members for feedback. 

Ask them what they look for from event speakers, and review feedback from past events. You may also consider searching social media to learn what members want most–or even using the poll functions to quiz your audience. 

The important thing is to start the conversation on your association’s various channels. Do this, and you’ll understand what your members want in no time! 

3. Consider Their Style

If you have a chance to see and review the style of your potential presenters, consider how they might fit in with the feel of your event. You may also want to think about how their style matches the time slots available. 

For example, those with energetic and dynamic presentation styles may work best at the mid-day point to get everyone energized and over the hump. On the other hand, those who inspire and motivate change may be best suited for the final keynote slot.

You will also want to think about how speakers structure their presentations. For example, those who integrate Q&As can be useful for livening and loosening up a crowd. 

Consider:

  • How do they present and work with audiences? 
  • Are they creative and thoughtful? 

It’s a delicate balance. 

While the big name speakers may help attract audiences, those who constantly work the event circuit may not be able to offer the same fresh ideas and perspectives as newer or more unfamiliar speakers. Try to incorporate some of both!

4. Take Some Risks

As mentioned above, taking a risk on a speaker can pay off enormously, as unknown speakers bring an element that attendees can’t find elsewhere. The trade-off here is that more familiar speakers likely bring with them more security; they often have more experience and more material for your association to review before making a decision. 

Think about what is most important to your event and let that help inform your decision.

You might want to also consider what kind of risks speakers take. 

  • Are they trying new things?
  • Do they incorporate new technologies or new keynote methods? 

While new speakers might not have the same proof of success as their tried and true counterparts, they may also give your audience something they’ve never seen before–making a lasting impact and boosting your event’s value.

5. Seek Out Integration

While integrating a speaker into your next event largely depends on how your association structures its speaker packages (and what you offer them), you can at least explore whether potential speakers would be open to greater involvement. After all, speakers who are more engaged with your event and your association may be willing to offer something extra for your audience. 

  • Would they stick around after their presentation to talk to the audience? 
  • Would they be open to running a workshop as well? 
    • Do they have the material (and the ability) to do so? 
  • Would they speak to smaller groups who express interest after? 
  • Would they promote the event to their network? 

These are all questions that may help you answer how much integration is possible. Talk to your potential speakers–you may be surprised!

You may also like: 5 Benefits to Live Streaming Your Association’s Event

Conclusion

Choosing the perfect speaker for your next event requires careful consideration and planning. By following the tips outlined above, your association can simplify the process and find a speaker who aligns with your values, understands your audience, and complements your event. Remember to prioritize quality, and be willing to take risks to make your event memorable and impactful!

With a well-chosen speaker, your event is sure to go in with a boom and leave a lasting impression on all who attend!

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