Conference Planning Tips: Selecting The Right Speaker

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Hopefully, our Conference Planning Tips Series will help you as you plan this next important step: Choosing the right speaker for your event or conference can be one of the most difficult aspects of the planning process. Your speakers will command most of your attendee’s attention, which means that the success of an event can rest solely on whether you have selected the right speaker. It’s easy to become distracted by the big-name speakers and forget about the most important element of your event, your audience.

“Today, there is an abundance of “speakers” and “coaches”, but the truth is, not everyone has the background, personality, or skills to engage an audience.” Miller adds, “When selecting the speaker for your event there are several things to consider: Does the speaker have the right credentials? Are they entertaining? Are they a good fit for this conference?” – Kathy Miller

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What is the Purpose of Your Event?

Are you motivating or educating employees? Building buzz and energy around a product launch? Generating more leads for the business?

Establishing the purpose of your event can help you to determine a theme for your event which will help in deciding the type of speaker you want for your event. An example of the types of speakers available are:

An industry professional

  • The information is complex and industry-specific.
  • The speaker needs to understand the background / specific nuances of the industry.
  • The speaker needs certain credentials or academic knowledge.

A celebrity

  • The speaker needs to provide the wow-factor.
  • The purpose is to encourage guests to do something (or buy something).

A motivational speaker

  • The event is based around a specific theme such as team building or conflict resolution etc.
  • The message needs to be valuable and inspirational.
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Who Is Your Audience?

Will the speaker be addressing an audience of mostly baby boomers or millennials, men or women, white or blue collar? Is your audience made up of technician and engineers or sales representatives?

The secret to hiring the right speaker for your event is to ensure that they match your audience’s general demographic. Know your audience, understand what you expect from your guest speaker.

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What do you want from your speaker?

Now that you’ve determined who your audience is, it is also crucial to know who your speaker is.

Audiences want to connect with speakers; they want people who will be real and share honest stories. The best speakers motivate, inspire and encourage through true examples of failures and successes and share their knowledge and real experiences in an authentic way.

Your speaker is the focus of your event. They play a key role in attracting attendees to come to the event and set the tone of the event. Use these questions to choose your next speaker and your audience will thank you.

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