You’ve got a brief prepared for your next event, but how are you going to start choosing that perfect fit for the keynote speech? Judith Sloane spoke to Speakers Corner, a speaker consultation company and booking service, to gain insight into how to book the best speaker for an event.

  • Define your objectives

Before you even think about what speaker to choose, you need to define the aims of your event. What will success look like? What do you want your delegates to take away from the day? Once you have agreed on your overarching aims, start to think about what you’d like from the actual speaker session. Should it inspire the delegates to take a certain action, buy tickets, or perhaps support your initiative? Once you know your objectives, you can start to align your speaker search with them.

  • Think about your audience

When choosing your speaker, there are likely to be three key groups of stakeholders to consider: the person or team organising the event, the budget holder, and, of course, the audience. While it can be difficult to fully understand your audience’s expectations, you can at least take into account their demographics, and, to some degree, their motivation for attending the session, or event as a whole. Once you understand what your audience requires of the speaker session, it becomes easier to look at building the content.

  • Choosing your speaker

​With thousands upon thousands of speakers available, how do you go about choosing the right one for your event? YouTube? Recommendation? Costs? A quick Google? The fact is, while there is no right or wrong way to make a decision, with the sheer volume of information available, it can be difficult to narrow down your options to a speaker who will not only meet your content objectives but also be able to meet your other requirements. Do you need them to be available for longer than just the time they are on stage? Would you like them to help you shape the content of the day? Think about exactly what is required of them before refining your search.

  • Consider Using a Speaker Bureau

While you can approach speakers directly, a speaker bureau can do several things that will not only make the process of selecting a speaker easier, but also eliminate risks such as your speaker dropping out last minute, or any unexpected demands or expenses. A reputable speaker bureau will have expertise in understanding what topics and themes speakers cover, what they can deliver above and beyond their presentation, and what the pros and cons are of using a particular person.

  • What are the costs?

Make sure that you are clear on what the overall costs will be from the outset. While you may know what a speaker’s fees are, remember that these costs often will not include expenses, such as travel or accommodation. Your speaker may also have specific AV or rider specifications that may incur additional costs, so do make sure to clarify everything up front.

  • Speak to your Speaker

Most speakers will be happy to undertake a briefing call with you in order to ensure that they understand the session and what you require from them, as well as to iron out any small details which could make or break the speaking session.

  • Measure your ROI

Remember the first point? If you have clearly defined the purpose of your speaker session, alongside what success will look like, there are many ways that you can measure ROI far beyond standard feedback surveys. Did it affect the embracing of new ideas like you had anticipated? Did you sell more tickets as a result of your big name? Collecting this kind of data will only help you refine and improve ahead of your next event!

Meet Cambridge is extremely grateful for the service provided by Speakers Corner – its client Natalia Cohen (pictured) spoke at our Meet Cambridge 2017 – Exceptional Experiences showcase last month. Natalia was part of the first all-female team to row across the Pacific Ocean and set two new world records. She fitted our brief to the tee: we wanted a speaker to provide inspirational examples about the importance of team building, communication and overcoming adversity. Here's our handy checklist to help you engage your speakers to help you market your next event.


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