The most important element of any event is the speakers.  

Hands down.  

This is because the wrong speaker can be a total “miss” with your audience, leaving them feeling confused and thinking, “What was the point of that?” 

On the other hand, the right speaker will excite and engage your audience, increase registration, and leave them feeling empowered and ready to take action.  

For example, I just finished doing a keynote for an event where the meeting planner told me, “Deirdre, we’re pumped to have you. Once people found out you were speaking, the emails came flooding in about how excited they were!”  

I don’t share this with you to brag (although I will admit, I’m pretty excited about this compliment)—I’m sharing this with you so you can see the value of having the right keynote speaker for your audience! Not only is it great for your attendees, but as the meeting planner, it makes you look good! 

It’s critical to hire a keynoter who is exactly right for your audience. I once worked with a Christian-based company who previously hired a keynoter who dropped multiple F-bombs during his presentation. 

Can you imagine how that audience felt when they left that event? I doubt they felt excited, empowered, and ready to take action (let’s just say, someone got in trouble for that one…).  

Also, it’s important to hire a keynoter who’s willing to say, “No.” There have been times I’ve actually turned down a gig because I knew I wouldn’t be able to add the value that specific audience genuinely needed. 

As you can see, any ole’ keynoter won’t cut it. They have to be exactly right.  

Here are my top 3 tips for hiring a keynoter that is right for your company and your audience.   

1. Ask Your Audience 

This may seem obvious, but seriously—use your resources! Your audience matters most, and so does their opinion. Ask your attendees, “Who do YOU want to hear from?” 

Outside of that, it’s always a great idea to ask other event planners for references.  

2. Do Your Research 

Once you have names, you know the drill.  

Scour social media, websites, and other internet resources to learn as much as you can about a potential speaker to make sure they’re a right fit.  

Remember: check out their skill set, their message, AND their values.   

3. Always Do A “Pre-Event Interview” 

I never speak at an event without doing a “pre-event interview.” This is where the meeting planner and I get on a 30–40-minute call, where we cover in-depth questions about the goal of the event, the values, challenges, and desires of their audience, and what I need to do to knock it out of the park for them.  

Holding a “pre-event interview” with potential keynoters is a must!  

To sum it up, a keynote speaker can drastically increase audience excitement and engagement for an event, and it’s crucial to hire the right speaker whose values align with those of your audience. You got this!