The keynote speaker at any event is the main attraction – and can set the tone and mood for the day, whether it’s an annual meeting or a conference.
So choosing the right person for the job is important. Here’s why…
Statement of intent
Your choice of speaker shows attendees how serious you – and the event – are.
If you opt for an industry leader then it says this is going to be an in-depth talk with lots of interesting content. If you choose someone unrelated to the industry, it suggests you’re thinking outside of the box and want a free exchange of ideas.
So think carefully what you want people to take away from your event. Try to let your ideas dictate the choice of speaker, and not the speaker dictate the ideas.
Providing the agenda
While you will want to have a big say over the agenda, once the keynote speaker is chosen this will guide the rest of the day or meeting.
Try to link other sessions, or talk into the themes provided by the keynote speaker.
It’ll not only help to attract big-name speakers by playing to their ego, but it’ll also provide a through line for the whole event.
Publicising the event
Getting a well-known speaker – or one that’s more left-field – is ideal for helping to promote your event.
Whether you’re trying to get people to pay to attend a conference or want to convince your own staff to give up their valuable time and attend, the keynote speaker plays a big part.
Make sure any promotional material or internal messages highlight not just their name and position, but also their history, what is unique about them and what they’ll be discussing on the day.
Bring in other speakers
It’s not just about attracting attendees. A high profile main speaker can also help you to bring in other speakers.
This could be because they want to be on the same bill as the main speaker or they have opposing views that they want to get across.
Either way, once you’ve got concrete confirmation on the key speaker, it’s time to start reaching out to others and get them on board.
Posted by Sara Cano