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3 Steps to Securing the Perfect Keynote Speaker


Posted by Patrick Mendoza on 07/07/2016

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As we prepare for #LanyonLive 2016, we’ve been searching high and low for the perfect keynote speaker. We’ve had meeting after meeting, talked to key stakeholders, the purse-string holders, and even our legal team.

Every planner knows that to have a great event, you need an amazing keynote speaker. From former presidents, to news anchors, to reality TV stars – even captains of the industry, it seems as if the options are endless for finding a great keynote speaker.

However, finding that perfect keynote is a daunting challenge. Will the presenter be a good public speaker? Will the audience identify with their message? Is it a big enough name to draw a crowd?

Keep these three tips in mind on your next search for the perfect keynote: 

1.) Will the person cover a timely topic?

There’s a lot in the news today. Brexit, national security, and the 2016 election are all dominating the headlines. To narrow the scope, there’s probably some major trending topics in your specific industry, too. However, what is newsworthy today may not be by the time your event rolls around. 

It’s always a good idea to find a tried-and-true path for keynote content, rather than rushing into what is the most splashy topic. Staying with statesman, community/civic leaders, and business leaders always seems to cover both timely and relevant topics.

One of the best keynotes I’ve ever seen was Tom Brokaw, former NBC Nightly News Anchor and author of “The Greatest Generation.” He discussed the need for leadership in every generation.

Utilizing a speaker bureau can help you narrow your search and put you in touch with the right people. They’re there to help you, but remember...

2.) Get a big name...but only if you can afford it

Big names cost big bucks. However, having a celebrity keynote can help you drive attendance, engagement and sponsorship to your event – so it might be worth the investment.

Some of the biggest and best (like a former President of the United States or the co-founder of Apple), can cost upwards of $100,000. These household names can draw a huge crowd of attendees, with their stories of fighting the global war on terror or starting a billion-dollar company in a garage in California. And big names bring in big crowds.

If you’re getting a celebrity keynote, build in some time for an audience meet and greet. This is a chance to build not only an added perk for your top customers and sponsors, but enables you to add in engagement options with your attendees. Hosting a tagging contest on social media, or a raffle for a chance to attend the private meet and greet is a great way for your attendees to interact with your brand and event.

3.) Have a backup plan

Flights get missed. Personal lives intervene. Or, perhaps worst of all, contract negotiations fall through.

Have a list of three or four backups you can go to, on the off-chance that your first choice doesn’t work out. Speakers bureaus are a great tool for doing research on potential keynote speakers. They can suggest alternatives that are around the same price range – just make sure not to tell your backup that they were the second (or third) choice.

Finding the right keynote can set the right tone for your event and help you attract more attendees. Best of luck in your search, and let us know if you have any interesting keynote stories by tweeting us @Lanyon.

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