Five questions to ask when looking for event speakers

Making sure you ask the right questions when identifying speakers for your event can make or break your event. Here are five of the most important questions to address before approaching speakers:



1) Who is your audience?

Googling “speakers for business delegate audience” will bring up thousands of speaker listings. Taking it one step further; and being specific about your audience’s likes and dislikes will assist you in matching your audience with the right speaker. Does your audience appreciate a particular sport or genre of music? Do they like science and statistics? Do they appreciate current affairs and politics or do they prefer humour? Now that you have identified your audience, ask yourself:


2) What are your audience’s greatest concerns and challenges? It’s important to identify what it is that keeps your target audience awake at night before you launch your search for the right speakers. What is your audience thinking about? What challenges is your event delegate’s industry or organisation currently facing? Finding a speaker that will speak directly to their challenges is bound to give you a captive audience.


3) What is the conference brief? Be clear about the style and format of your event before searching for or briefing speakers. Ask your client what they envision the event will look like so that you can approach speakers who can support the event with the appropriate content and style of presentation for the number and seniority of delegates that you are anticipating. Your speakers must understand the purpose behind the event and the strategic message you plan to convey.


4) What are the client’s expectations? What type of speaker would help you to accomplish your event objectives? Is it about the person (celebrity, sports figure, business guru)? Or are the presentation style and content more important (cutting edge, educational, interactive)? What ideal “takeaway” should the speaker’s presentation deliver?


5) Does your budget match your expectations? Are there other expectations of the speaker beyond the stage, such as a question-and-answer session, book signing, press conference attendance or follow-up webinar for delegates? How important is the speaker to the overall success of the meeting and does this align with the value you’ve placed on their contribution?


Next read: 5 tips for finding speakers who won’t leave you in the lurch

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