What To Consider When Choosing A Keynote Speaker


If you’re planning your event, you’ve probably got a to-do list as long as your arm and one of the most important items on the agenda will most likely be your keynote speaker(s). Our advice is to start your search early to ensure you have plenty of time to book the speaker(s) you want and make sure they’re available.

Keynote speakers are often what draws people to an event, providing the opportunity to gain expert advice and learn about upcoming trends in that particular industry is hugely insightful. But what should you consider before choosing your speakers?

We advise you ask yourself these questions first...

  • What is the event objective?

The objective of your event should be one of the first things that you decide on. Different speakers will all have different ideas, lessons and stories to tell, so you need to choose a speaker that aligns to the core objective of your event.

It’s all well and good choosing a well-known speaker until their content isn’t relevant to your event. Remember, your audience is there to learn and therefore expect related content. We advise you work around your event objective - if you’re having multiple speakers, it ensures they’re all on the same page and they’ll know what you expect them to deliver.

  • What does your audience expect to see?

Think about your audience: who they are, what they do and what company they’ve come from. Knowing this information can help you plan what sort of content you want to provide them with, helping you select the perfect keynote speaker.

It will also help you choose the type of speaker - does your audience prefer to sit and listen or would they rather a more interactive experience? Ultimately, your audience are the most important people to impress. If they enjoy your event and find your message valuable, it has been a success.

  • How is the schedule looking?

Review your event schedule and decide when your keynote speaker will be most engaging. We suggest sticking to earlier in the day; by the afternoon your audience will have taken in a lot of information and may start to become tired and therefore not engage as well as they would in the morning.

If you’re planning a multi-day event, you have more flexibility and the option to host additional interactive activities in the afternoon. For those who have multiple speakers throughout a one-day event, we suggest starting with the ‘headliner’ who will set the goal of the day. The speaker in the afternoon should have high energy and speak directly to the audience, asking questions and keeping them engaged.

  • How much can you afford?

Whilst the initial quote of a speaker is for their time, be sure to check what is included. Do they expect you to book accommodation and other expenses additionally?

You should also check if they have any special technical requirements they want for their production. If this is the case, it’s worth asking your venue about what facilities they provide, as it may be included within the venue cost.

Once you’ve answered these questions, you should have a clearer view of who you’re looking for to speak at your event and can begin to shortlist those who will help you achieve your event’s objective.

Tips to keep your multi-day event engaging