Virtual meetings and events have become the norm as the world has shifted towards a more online approach to life. Although the Coronavirus pandemic made us feel that the world came to a standstill, life goes on, and that means business as usual for companies that wish to continue growing.
Nowadays, ‘business as usual’ means hosting virtual events to stay connected with customers and clients, and a good event often depends on a great keynote speaker to set the right tone.
More than 65% of virtual events enroll the help of external speakers, and finding the right one isn’t as easy as just hiring someone through an advertisement. This article will guide you in the right direction so your event will have a keynote speaker who understands the message you want your audience to hear and can deliver it flawlessly.
Keeping attendees entertained calls for more than great videos and presentations. Image Source: markletic.com
Benefits of hiring a keynote speaker
The first benefit of hiring a keynote speaker that may spring to mind is getting to tap into the expertise of someone who is an expert in their field and knows how to captivate an audience.
But there’s more to it than this. Here are 5 more reasons you should really consider hiring an outside keynote speaker:
1. Create a buzz
Getting a well-known or unique keynote speaker to speak at, and perhaps help host, your event will attract more attendees. No-shows are to be expected in the events industry, and virtual events have a higher percentage of invitees not attending.
35% or more of your guests are likely not to take part in the event. Therefore, you need to give people a reason to want to spend their time at your event, and the buzz created by a good speaker is a great start.
Promoting your event on social media platforms such as Instagram is also an excellent way to create buzz. Most famous speakers have many Instagram followers, and can help with promotion of your event.
2. Promote creativity
Virtual events can feel distant and aloof because people don’t attend in person. That’s why a good keynote speaker is so important; they can bring the creativity to solve problems and imagine new ideas.
If you have a top keynote speaker, they can get your guests to think outside the box and enhance their own creativity levels.
3. Offer encouragement and inspire your audience
One of the best advantages of using professional keynote speakers is their ability to hype up an event and inspire a crowd.
They have personal experiences that they draw from and share with audiences. This is what helps them motivate and encourage your guests. By using their real-life stories, they can excite your audience about the event and the message you’re trying to deliver.
4. Bring in a new perspective
Seeing a fresh perspective is not always easy when you’re in the middle of a situation. Keynote speakers can breathe new life into old topics.
They can look at things from the outside and inspire your audience into new ways of seeing and approaching them.
5. Reward attendees with a good time
A good keynote speaker uses humor and their personality to add some unique flavor to the event. They can draw in the audience and give them a better experience of the event.
Good entertainment is essential regardless of the kind of event you're hosting, and when your keynote speaker can bring their own ‘zest,’ the audience will enjoy it more.
Strategies to Hire the Perfect Keynote Speaker
Approaching the appointment of a keynote speaker will depend on what you hope to achieve. However, some fundamentals are the same, no matter your goals.
Let’s look at some essential strategies that will help you hire the best speaker for your event.
1. Understand your audience
To hire the right speaker, you need to know what your audience will want to hear. There’s no point in getting a speaker experienced in marketing for an audience focused on food and catering.
It’s also essential that you know the demographics of your audience. This information will help you determine which speaker would be best received by them.
2. Capture the event objective
Your keynote speaker should understand what the event is about and complement it with what they say and do.
Nobody will be entertained by someone who doesn’t share the energy and message of the event.
3. Get to know your keynote speaker
You must get to know the speaker before making a hiring decision. Here are a few questions you can ask the speaker to determine if they’re the right fit for your event and audience:
1. Can the speaker provide references?
Obtaining references of past work by the speaker is one of the most direct and effective ways of determining their experience. You’ll be able to see if past event hosts and audiences were satisfied by the speaker.
You’ll also see which industries the speaker is most experienced in, and what they can bring to an event.
2. What are the speaker’s fees and payment requirements?
Keynote speakers can be expensive, especially if you want to hire a better-known or even famous one.
Establishing the speaker’s fees and payment arrangements as early as possible avoids disappointment and nasty surprises.
3. What are the keynote speaker’s staging requirements?
Although every keynote speaker is different, they’ll mostly like to do the technical things quite similarly. You should discuss lighting, audio, and even seating arrangements with them to give your speaker a positive and comfortable environment.
Some speakers for events and webinars may even require specific tools and software that you will have to provide.
4. Does the keynote presentation involve audience interaction?
Keynote speakers have different approaches that depend on the subject and the audience they’re addressing. Some like to follow their script and not involve the audience at all. Others enjoy answering questions and being engaging through interactive pictures or quizzes on slides.
Talk to the speaker beforehand so you can determine if they’re suitable for the kind of event you want.
5. Will the speaker be accessible to attendees after their session?
Audience members will often want to talk to the keynote speaker afterwards and ask questions or glean advice. However, not all speakers offer this kind of interaction.
A meet and greet isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and it’s better to know how the speaker feels about this before the event to avoid miscommunication. Also to ensure that the speaker’s style fits your requirements.
4. Book at the right time
The best keynote speakers, especially better-known ones, are high in demand and can be booked-up for months. You should research and find out how far in advance you are likely to need to book the types of speakers you hope to have at your event.
It’s never a good idea to rush events and make last-minute appointments. Doing so only causes stress, and you need everyone involved well-rested and relaxed before your event.
You may find it a bit difficult to get hold of a busy keynote speaker, and may even need to reach out more than once. Write a good follow-up email to ensure you get the speaker interested in you and your event and unable to say no!
It helps to create a database of potential speakers, and manage contacts by keeping a ready base of information. You can also use management software to track who is available and who isn’t and which speakers applied to speak at your event.
You should be prepared to plan up to a year ahead if you want a celebrity keynote speaker at your event. They are the most in-demand and have companies and even non-profit organizations booking them many months in advance.
These speakers have built up a good reputation in their careers and are highly respected. They are also in demand and you will have to reach out to them months ahead to avoid disappointment.
Professional keynote speakers
If you want a professional keynote speaker with much experience in your industry, you should expect them to be busy. As such, you will have to book them about six months in advance because they’re normally sought after by many companies.
Sites such as GrowthMentor are ideal for finding professionals who have subject matter expertise.
Quality keynote speakers
Should you wish to hire a keynote speaker who is still building a name and reputation for themselves, you may not need to give as much notice. Still, it will be safer to book them at least three months in advance to ensure they don’t have other events lined up.
Hiring the right keynote speaker is essential to help ensure the success of your virtual event. Make sure you ask the right questions, book in advance, and find the right person to capture your event objective.
If you’re looking for reliable and professional keynote speakers, SpeakerHub is a fast-growing community of professional, independent, and amateur public speakers ready to take your event to the next level.