Consider this scenario: your boss is planning a meeting for C-suite executives to take place in three months, and she e-mails you a list of possible speakers recommended to her by colleagues. With the intention of choosing one for a keynote session, she’s tasked you – the “speaker seeker” – with investigating what it takes to secure these experts for the agenda. After a quick Google search, you find their contact information: Now what?
A Brief Guide to Easing the Search for a Keynote Speaker (or Moderator)
First, prepare yourself to dedicate significant time – spent on email and phone conversations – to this investigation. And as it’s likely to be one of many important tasks you must complete this week, a lack of direction can be detrimental to your overall productivity. Before you begin making calls and sending inquiries, arm yourself with these four tips to quickly gather, harness and organize speaker details, and provide your boss with useful information to make the upcoming meeting a success.
Solidify the event theme
Often, keynote speaker and moderator recommendations come from outside of one’s company or industry. “I heard so-and-so speak in New York at a marketing conference, and she was phenomenal!” is a standard endorsement, despite not knowing the speaker’s true expertise. A speaker seen at a marketing conference may in fact not be a marketing expert, but had a compelling message that fit well with that particular event’s theme. As the speaker seeker, knowing your event’s purpose, theme and goals for the audience will enable the agent, who is well-versed in their clients’ content, to assess whether or not the speaker is the most appropriate expert for your meeting. Agents are then better equipped to recommend alternative experts sure to pique the interest of your boss and meeting attendees.
Know what is most important to the audience
Every audience is different, so it’s important to understand what interests them and makes them tick. Does your audience want to be inspired by a favorite celebrity athlete, or does it find more value in industry practitioners and distinguished academics speaking about business strategies that can be implemented at work tomorrow? Also consider the presenter’s style: sometimes interactive speakers are better for an audience, and sometimes they’re not. The type of speaker you put on the stage can make or break the post-event reviews, which also affects your ability to gain interest in (or sell tickets to) future events.
Search for speakers and moderators with a budget in mind
Prior to making a major purchase such as a car or a home, most of us set a budget so we can immediately identify what’s required and what’s optional. Transfer this principle to finding a keynote speaker or moderator. Knowing how much your boss can allocate to presentation and travel fees has a trifecta of benefits: it will significantly reduce the amount of time you spend vetting speakers, ensure you receive the most accurate recommendations for alternatives from agents, and reduce the possibility of spending more than was initially intended.
Work with an agent you trust
This may be the first time you’ve been tasked with investigating speakers, but it likely won’t be the last. As you’re engaging with various agencies, take note of those who are interested in partnering with and advising your organization in the long-term, rather than those seeking the fruits of a one-time transaction. A trusted agent will keep you abreast of the up-and-coming speakers who may be of interest to your organization’s bottom line. Should something go wrong with a speaker, either prior to or in the middle of your event, a trusted agent acts swiftly to find solutions to ensure your event goes off without a hitch. And, when it comes to saving your organization money, a trusted agent looks for creative ways to work with a speaker to add value your event.
Finding the perfect speaker is a challenging feat with many variables to consider. With these tips, you’re sure to not only streamline your fact-finding mission, but you may be the catalyst for bringing previously unconsidered, yet impactful, keynote speaker options to your boss’ attention.
For more information on how to ease the speaker booking process, contact us.