Finding the right type of speaker for your event


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Finding the right type of speaker for your event

Finding the right speaker for your event is essential; while people will probably have trouble remembering whether the coffee was good or not, or even the location the event was held at,  they will remember the speaker.

So, how do you go about finding the right speaker?

One of the keys to finding right speaker for your event is to make sure that they match your audience’s needs.

So, how do you go about finding the right speaker?

The first two questions you need to ask yourself are:

  1. Who is my audience?
  2. What is the purpose of my event?

Let’s explore this a little deeper:

Define Your Audience

What is the target demographic for your event?

Will the conference mainly be for seasoned, politically affiliated business-people?

A group of international, young, urban professionals?

An edgy innovator brimming with outrageous new ideas may not really appeal to a group of conservatives, or vice versa.

What would you like your audience to gain as a result of the talk? Can you think of what issues or concerns they want to address, or problems they would want solved?

This can be either very specific and technical, or quite broad and far reaching, but consider the needs of your audience. By doing your best to meet those needs, your events will have a greater impact.

TOP TIP:  Ask a few potential attendees to do a quick survey. Take an accurate cross section of the audience. Ask them things like “why are you coming to this event?” and “what do you want to get out of it?.”

Understanding what your audience needs will make finding the right speaker much easier.  

Understanding what your audience needs will make finding the right speaker much easier.

What is your event’s purpose?

Once you have a clear idea of what your audience is looking for, identify your meeting's theme. 

What are your objectives and what do you want the audience to walk away with?  

What is your event’s purpose?

Start with very broad ideas, here are some examples:

  • Educating people on something specific.
  • Increasing awareness and interest about an idea or brand
  • Instigating an important conversation that needs to be had.
  • Reconnecting a group of people (such as classmates, a community, a group of employees.)

Let the broad ideas lead you to the questions and issues that could be tackled in talks. This is your theme.

Your theme could still feel quite open-ended, for example, “Motivation”, but it could also be quite technical or specific to your event attendees like “Recent International Politics and Conflict Research”.

If it lines up with the needs of your audience, you are on the right track. 

What do you need?

What do you want from your speaker?

Decide what you expect them to bring to your event, and how they are going to help you achieve your goals. 

Is it to motivate and educate your attendees, or to give them have a hearty chuckle and be entertained?  

There a four main types of speaker presentations: 

  • Informative: These speakers convey critical information that will expand or direct the ideas of the audience. 
  • These speakers are generally experts in their industry. 
  • Their goal is to relay new information to your audience, or to change their perception. 
  • Instructive: These are teachers: speakers who deliver very practical ideas or information that your audience can use in their daily life or work. 
  • This could include new tools, best practices, or skills. 
  • Usually an event with a speaker who is instructing will need to work in tandem with a series of hands-on workshops.
  • Inspirational: Speakers who specialize in motivating and inspiring your audience. 
  • They will get the audience excited and embolden them. Usually this is done through astounding storytelling. 
  • They will challenge the audience with new ideas, and energize them to make changes or get on board with an idea. 
  • Entertaining: Entertainers will give your audience an absorbing show. 
  • Entertainers do not always limit their presentations to just speaking but will sometimes include various elements to keep the audience engaged, and this can range from musical acts to magic tricks. 

These types of speakers are primarily for the audience's’ enjoyment.

Most speakers will jump between two or three of these categories, and high quality speakers might have elements of all four.

Once you have a clear idea of what you need your speaker to do, it is time to decide what type of speaker will be the most appropriate. 

Types of speakers

You might want to choose an industry expert if you would like the presentation to inform your audience of new advances in the field, whereas you might choose a motivational speaker to inspire your audience to take more leadership in the community.

Maybe you would like to keep your audience laughing all night, so an entertaining celebrity speaker would be a great choice.

Let’s look at those three main speaker categories again in a bit more detail:

Industry Experts: The information these types of speakers will provide is complex and industry-specific. 

They will be well versed in the nuances of their field, and will have an in-depth knowledge of the industry's background. 

These speakers will have certain credentials or academic knowledge to back up their expertise. 

Celebrity Speakers: This will be someone generally be well known by the audience, and will add a distinctive appeal to your event. 

They can also add a sense of exclusivity to an event, and will draw in bigger crowds. 
Whether you are looking to promote ticket sales, kick off a conference with a bang, or have a high profile champion for your cause, celebrity speakers are perfect when you need to drum up excitement for your event.  

Motivational speaker: Motivational speakers will inspire your audience. 

Their talks are generally centered around a specific theme such as team building, personal strength, or activism. 

Their purpose is to motivate others toward various goals. These speakers can easily express the value of their goal, while inspiring your audience to take action.

Types of speakers

Three questions to ask before choosing a type of speaker:

  • What is your primary focus?
  • Which is best for your audience?
  • What are the pros and cons of each type of speaker?

After you have decided which type of talk your audience needs, and the kind of speaker you think will best suit the talk, make a short list of the character traits you'd like your speaker to demonstrate.  

Think back to your audience demographic. Do they need the speaker to be factual and to the point or hilarious and charming?

Think about the kind of person that would make your audience to lean in, and pay close attention.

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