What to Consider When Choosing a Keynote Speaker for Your Corporate Event

The choice of a motivational speaker can have a significant impact on your corporate meeting or event, influencing how attendees perceive the experience and the lasting impression it can leave. In today’s market, there’s an overwhelming number of “experts” out there across a wide variety of trendy topics. Choosing the right speaker to engage your audience is a big decision and often comes with a big investment. Below are a few considerations for choosing the right keynote speaker for your next event. 

Define Your Event Goals

A guest speaker is a big element to a corporate event, and should fit seamlessly into your overall attendee experience and align with your event goals and objectives. Your event strategy should inform much of the decision making process, most notably the key messages and desired outcomes you’re looking to achieve. A great keynote speaker can help galvanize these key messages, and can do so in a number of ways. You know your audience best. Determine what kind of speaker you’re looking for, e.g. a pure motivational message, an emotional story of triumph, overcoming obstacles with resilience, team building, research-based data, A-list celebrity, etc. all can support your event content strategy.  

Research and Credentials

Not all motivational speakers are created equal. Once you’ve outlined your event goals, start researching potential speakers and examining their credentials. There are many well-known names out there on the speaker circuit, many of which can be costly. There are also many lesser known speakers that can be a diamond in the rough for your budget. Consider the following:

Budget: Determine your guest speaker budget range. Guest speaker budgets can range from $10,000 to more than $100,000, not including travel. Higher-budget speakers often come with a rider and specific travel requirements that are often on top of their speaking fee. Remember, everything is negotiable. 

Experience: Seek speakers with a track record of success at events similar to yours and organizations similar to yours. Experience breeds confidence, ensuring that the speaker can effectively engage your specific audience.

Reputation: Subject matter expertise is the most important credential speakers have. Their industry experience, books they have authored, research they’ve conducted, etc. are all important factors to engaging your audience, as well as their stage presence and delivery. 

Delivery Style

Consider the delivery style that will resonate best with your audience. Some speakers thrive on humor, while others maintain a more serious tone. Understanding your audience’s preferences will help you choose a speaker whose style complements the atmosphere you want to create. Additionally, many speakers are more comfortable delivering their message in a Q&A or fireside chat format, which can be a great way to incorporate your leaders or executives onstage alongside your speaker. 

Another consideration when it comes to message delivery is customization to your specific event and organization. Many keynote speakers offer great motivational presentations, but are templated with very little customization. Others invest a great deal of time learning your culture, your goals and how best to tailor their message to fit your audience. Determine which is best for your event. 

Remember, passion is contagious. Look for a motivational speaker who is genuinely passionate about their message. A speaker’s enthusiasm can captivate your audience and leave a lasting impression on attendees.

Seek Recommendations

Word of mouth is a powerful tool. Ask colleagues, industry peers, or your event planning partner for recommendations. Personal experiences can provide valuable insights into a speaker’s effectiveness and suitability for your event. Most importantly, do your homework. Invest time into watching a speaker’s videos, reading their reviews and asking for references. 

In conclusion, finding the right motivational speaker involves a thoughtful and strategic approach. By defining your event goals, what is and is not a good fit for your audience, and doing your homework, you set yourself up for success with an impactful event. And with the guidance of an experienced event partner who can help negotiate the details, you can ensure you’re getting the best speaker for the budget.