A good keynote speaker will make an emotional and mental connection with conference attendees. He or she likely has a big name in the industry your conference is in and thus will draw people to register for the event for the chance to interact with the keynote speaker. This can mean that the speaker is a celebrity, expert, or simply known to be a good speaker in the industry.
The Competition to Get a Good Keynote Speaker
The best keynote speakers in any industry stay booked and are booked well in advance. The industry standard used to be about a year, but according to prominent professional speaking coach Dr. Nick Morgan in a Forbes article, “Now it can be as short as 2-3 months. Event Organizers will do even better for themselves if they try booking 6 months. This way you can book the best speakers and get the most out of them in terms of promotion and preparation.”
If you’ve thought of the high profile speaker you want to head up your event, then you can be sure that others have thought of them as well. The sooner you can get your event dates and location, the sooner you can go after that keynote speaker that will provide the name that drives people to register for your event.
Think Outside the Box
If you are unable to get the keynote you want and all the big names seemed to be booked, try to think outside the box a bit. Is there a celebrity that might have something to add to the discussion?
Services like the American Program Bureau serve as a talent agency matching celebrities with events that need speakers. For example, if you were hosting a medical conference on women and cancer, you’d have your typical researchers and doctors as speakers, but your keynote might be Eva Longoria, who is a passionate advocate for ovarian cancer research.
Other companies through which you can hire celebrity speakers include:
- Celebrity Talent International: Speakers like William Shatner, Mike Ditka, Ben Affleck and Suze Orman
- All American Speakers: This agency will help you book motivational keynotes such as Jillian Michaels, Ben Stein and author John Green.
- Celebrity Speakers Bureau: Book actors, authors, survivors and people from all walks of life.
- Keppler Speakers: Choose from a wide array of speakers, including former US senators, actors, past military and other recognizable names.
Choosing a Keynote Speaker to Invite
When it comes to choosing a keynote, who you invite will have a lot to do with the goal you have for your event. Do you simply want to increase awareness? You’ll want someone recognizable so you get the media coverage and attendees in the seats to learn more about the topic.
On the other hand, if you want to inspire people to take action, you’ll want someone passionate about the topic so they can create an emotional connection that motivates attendees to do something to change things for the better. Start by speaking on the phone to be sure that the person is passionate about the topic. Do they listen to your ideas? Do they offer suggestions of their own? These are all signs of a good match for your event.
If you want to attract the best keynote speakers, try to be as flexible as possible. Does the keynote really want to do your event but has a previous engagement that ends the same day your conference starts? Suggest planning an opening party on that day and allowing the keynote to arrive the next day. Push any events where the keynote might need to speak to the following day to allow him time to rest before speaking in front of a crowd.
The key to getting a big name to work with you comes down to much more than just paying the fee to get that person to your event. The keynote should be treated like the celebrity she is from the time you book her until after she leaves your event. You should pay attention to details, stay in regular touch with her or her agent and work to ensure that the experience is as positive for the keynote speaker as it is for your attendees.
Related Topic: How to Recruit Speakers