Finding the Right Keynote for your 2020 Annual conference

According to learning evangelist and Event Garde CEO Aaron Wolowiec, “Finding a speaker for an event can sometimes be a daunting challenge. How do you really know if the selected individual will bring the right mix of knowledge, enthusiasm and engagement to the room?”

The demand and price for event speakers isn’t expected to drop in 2020.  The MPI Meeting Outlook Report predicted live event and virtual attendance over the next year to grow 2.7 percent over this year.  According to the report respondents, live attendance predictions are the greatest seen in this survey since 2016.   According to a survey of education, meeting, and professional development activities by Whorton Marketing & Research with Event Garde,  22 percent of respondents spend $25,000 or more on speakers per year and at least 30 percent ask speakers to engage in other elements of a meeting.

So where do you find your perfect speaker?  Below is a list of good places to start your search:

  • Speakers from events you have attended:  if you enjoyed a speaker from a past or recent event, that’s a good person to reach out to first.
  • Referrals: solicit your friends and colleagues for speaker recommendations.  Use your social accounts to extend the audience.
  • Similar events and conference.   Many times you can garner a great speaker from a similar event to yours.  Search on the event website for speaker info.   Or reach out to your affiliated National organization or Chapters for top speakers from their recent events.   
  • Industry Writers.  Have you been impressed with an author’s contributions in industry magazines?  Solicit popular content authors and thought leaders.   
  • TED Talks.  Per a recent Forbes article, “considering that TED is a nonprofit and only works with quality and engaging speakers in a variety of areas -- this is a great place to find names for guest speakers for your event.”
  • Agencies & Speaker Search Sites. Another tip from John Hall, Forbes contributor, “You can work with an agency like the National Speakers Association, SpeakerHub, Premiere Speakers Bureau, or BigSpeak”.   Sites such as allow associations to leverage site infrastructure and simply filter their speaker search down to see just the  association’s and/or industry’s speakers.  Allowing the association to have virtually it’s own speaker bureau as well as the ability to search for outside speakers as well.

2020 will be here before you know it!  Hopefully this list helps you find the perfect speaker for your annual conference.

Author: Kim Harwood, President, Results at Hand

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