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Ask a leadership expert:
How to Choose the Right Keynote Speaker for Your Next Event

By Jenn DeWall Confidence and Leadership Coach & Keynote Speaker & Trainer.

Choosing the right keynote speaker for your event can make or break the success of any meeting or conference. It can create the buzz you need when marketing your event and set the tone for the rest of the meeting. It can also create a lasting impression about your organization long after the speaker leaves the stage. It can be intimidating to search for the right keynote speaker with so much on the line! So, let's take a look at some strategies to find the right keynote speaker for your next event!

Before You Start Searching for the Right Keynote Speaker

Before you even start searching for the right keynote speaker for your group, you should do some prep work. You will need to make some other decisions first! 

  • Define the purpose of your event— You have to know the goal and intent of your event before you can decide who the right speaker will be. Is it a business conference? Fundraiser? A social gathering? Is it private or public? Choosing an overall theme or topic will also be helpful.

  • Know your audience— Know who your attendees are. Is it an industry-only event filled with tech folks or a room full of lawyers? Is there an average age, or will it be a family-friendly event? A room full of corporate salespeople or a room full of non-profit workers? These audiences would obviously be looking for different things in a keynote speaker.

  • Set your budget— Take a close look at your event budget and know how much you want to spend on your keynote speaker. Pricing varies greatly depending on the level of experience, celebrity, and location, so you should know what you can afford before starting your search. You can definitely find top keynote speakers that will deliver without breaking your budget!

What Are You Looking for in a Keynote Speaker?

Once you have the basics of your event outlined, you should think about what you are looking for in your ideal keynote speaker to help you narrow your search. 

  • What is the purpose of the keynote speech? Are you looking for someone to influence the audience about a specific message? Are you looking for technical expertise, academic knowledge, or inspiration and motivation? Is this an opening speech to energize and set the tone, or a closing address to reinforce a message and close it with a thoughtful message?

  • What kind of presentation do you need? When searching for the right keynote speaker, you will need to know some specifics. Will the speaker present live or virtually? How much time will they be allotted? 

  • What personality type will resonate with your audience? It's important to figure out the right personality and tone for your event. Do you need someone funny and energetic? Or someone serious and somber? Does your event need an edgy, youthful speaker to attract similar attendees or someone suited to a more general audience? The right keynote speaker will align with your event's theme, engage your target audience, and provide fresh ideas and perspectives. 


Where to Find the Right Keynote Speaker

Now that you know the purpose of your event and the kind of speaker you are looking for, where can you find them? There are a few ways to start your search. 

  • Referrals— Getting referrals from other event planners or a frequent event attendee is a great place to start! 

  • Similar Events— Look at similar events and speakers they used in the past or someone creating a buzz for an event in the future. If you are lucky, you may find recordings of past keynotes to get an idea of their speaking style. 

  • Agencies— You can also search through an agency like SpeakerHub, National Speakers Association, and more. Most agencies have local chapters and can work with you to find just the right speaker for your event!

Words of Advice

When choosing the right keynote speaker, remember you don't always need a household name or celebrity. Thought leaders, influencers and professionals within your industry are out there and ready to motivate and engage your audience. The most important thing is finding a keynote speaker that connects with your event's theme and audience. A great speaker is the one that will embrace your event's goals to work with you to make it a success for everyone involved. 


Want to Know More About Booking Jenn to Speak at Your Next Event? 

As a top motivational keynote speaker, Jenn's playful and humorous speaking style instantly engages audiences, whether they are in the same room or watching on a screen somewhere around the globe. Look no further if you need a keynote speaker to inspire and transform your audience! Find out more HERE

Jenn DeWall is a leadership and career coach, leadership keynote speaker, facilitator, trainer, and podcast host. Jenn is a Millennial leadership expert based in Denver, CO. 

Are you looking for an engaging keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, or trainer? Book Jenn for your leadership needs today!

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