Most organizations have an annual conference, and it is likely that you would be tasked to secure a keynote speaker. At times, this speaker is not someone from the industry, but certainly a well-known individual.
This person would be the main reason delegates would want to be present in the event. The ideal speaker can motivate and inspire the audience, and has star power to persuade them to be at the conference and listen well.
Here are the tips on hiring a presenter for the keynote speech:
1. Ask the higher-ranking individuals in your organization who they would like to deliver the keynote address. This may be someone that they admire. You may also want to check out other conferences because if someone is presenting at several conferences, they may already be overexposed. Think of the speaker circuit as holiday destinations – places and people could go out of trend quickly.
2. You must have around 10 individuals in your shortlist because half of them are probably abroad or already engaged on the date of your event. Some well-known presenters are even booked one year in advance.
3. You should verify the quality of the keynote speaker. Check Google and YouTube to make sure your potential speaker has the “it” factor or good stage presence. You may also want to check their contract to make sure you can terminate the contract if the speaker gets involved in a scandal or arrested.
4. You may not be a professional conference organizer, so you would have to book the speaker through their agent, and you would pay a speaker’s fee. This fee depends on two aspects: the current market rate, and the amount the agent thinks they could charge you. The problem is that you may not have an idea about these rates, which is why you should have 10 prospective speakers in your shortlist.
5. Just a reminder about the agent of the keynote speaker: they represent the speaker and not you. Act cool when you talk to the agent; inform them you have a fixed schedule, you are interested in a few speakers, and you have not yet decided on a budget. You can ask them for indicative pricing. Check out indicative prices for the speakers in your shortlist and negotiate.
6. Ensure that everything is in writing. Make some notes if you talk about issues over the phone, then send them an email to confirm what you have discussed.
7. Under some circumstances, some well-known people would speak free of charge. For instance, if you are a charitable institution or represent a cause that they believe in, the keynote speaker may not charge you with anything. However, even if a well-known speaker waives their fee, they would still have expenses like travel, meals, taxis, and accommodation, which you would have to pay for.
8. Remember that there should be a clear rule on who should not speak at your event. Government officials and elected politicians cannot receive speaking fees. Politicians as keynote speakers could be interested because most of them have incredible stories on their motivation to run for a public post. However, they may just discuss policy issues, which could be scripted and uninteresting.
9. Consider what you need to ask from the speaker. You would want them to present an empowering and amazing speech if you have paid them good money. If the speaker is really great, they may not need a PowerPoint Presentation.
10. Some well-known speakers would give the same presentation at each conference they are invited to. You must agree in advance what your keynote speaker would discuss – whether it would be a standard keynote presentation that everyone receives or a new topic.