3 Main Considerations when Choosing a Keynote Speaker

We have heard a ton of keynote speakers. We like to categorize them, motivational, inspirational and
industry experts. Amazing motivators impart an energetic message of challenges and encouragement. Inspirational speakers convey thought provoking and introspective messages. And industry experts share experience worth their weigh in gold. How do you choose what kind of keynote speaker you want headlining your general session?

  1. Key Message

shutterstock_286616237First, we think it’s important to define exactly what a keynote speaker is. The phrase “keynote” comes from the key note in a musical composition. Music is composed within a key, say the key of C, (and some would argue that the Key of C is he happiest key of them all, but we digress) the C would be the KEY NOTE of the piece. It’s the note we go back to over and over again. The Keynote speaker should tie back to the key message. What is the key message that you want the audience to hear? Like the hook of a song, the key message is the song you want stuck in their heads for a long, long time.

  1. Audience Demographics and Psychographicsshutterstock_52947370

Who are these guys? Seriously. What makes them get up and go to work every day? Are they goal oriented competitive sales people? Are they franchise owners working their small business day in and day out? Are they IT professionals who are driven to understand the inner workings of your software platform? Are they well traveled? Is this their first trip to Vegas? All of these answers help shape what kind of speaker will resonate with them.

  1. Audience Attitudes and Beliefs

shutterstock_371060507Everyone has an opinion about everything. Just look at the current political climate. The audience is no exception. What’s going on with the business that would impact how they feel? Is it a down year in sales? Are you launching a new product or process? How does all of this affect their mindset? Are they worried? Are they excited? Again, knowing this sort of intel will help find the right speaker for the right audience.

Once you nail down the key message, clearly define who the audience is and get a good bead on what the think and believe about the organization and the meeting itself, you’ll be ready to search for the right presenter.

While looking for that right presenter you’ll need to consider some practicalities:

Budget – While a former president may be the right fit for your group, you may not have the budget for his fee. So be sure that you shop within your budget. Working with a specific broker will ensure that you’re getting the best bang for your buck. Don’t shop around and ask a bunch of different buyers for quotes on the same speaker. The speaker will start to think he’s in high demand and you’ll artificially jack up your own price. Talent and speaker buying is one of those times when you don’t want to get three bids. Be loyal to your broker and he/ she will be loyal to you.

Stickiness and Draw – If you have the budget, do consider using your speaker as a draw to pull in a paying audience as well ask keeping them until the end of the show. You may be able to negotiate some of the speaker’s most recent book as well as a book signing or meet and greet as part of the fee. This is a great way to extend the message beyond the event, since the audience will be taking home the message in book form.

However, don’t let that be the only reason you hire a household name, make sure he fits the bill in terms of key message, audience make up and attitude.

In our next post we will explore the three different types of speakers and when to use them.