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So You Want a Keynote Speaker for Your Next Event…Now What?

Karen Viotti
Monday, Jun 05, 2017

You want a keynote speaker at your next event, now what?

You’ve taken the first step. You know that by hiring a keynote speaker for your next event, you will not only educate, but also entertain and empower your audience. You want someone that can inspire and motivate, but you have no idea how to get started. As a global speaker’s bureau representing the most innovative speakers in the world, Executive Speakers Bureau is a leading industry expert committed to assessing your particular needs, understanding your organization, and helping you find the best speaker for your event. Here, we have provided you with a brief checklist of how to prepare and select your keynote speaker, as well as what to expect leading up to, during and after your event.

The Prep Work

Before you pick up the phone, the first thing to do is to develop a true understanding of what you are looking for in a speaker. What is your objective?

  • Set the stage – when and where is your event?
  • Determine your audience (how many people, demographic, field of interest)
  • Decide your event topic/theme. What takeaways do you want your audience to have? Try to be as specific as possible and be prepared to describe it well.
  • Be honest about your speaker budget. This will not only include the speaker fee, but travel expenses as well (i.e. airfare, hotel, meals, car service).
  • Ask yourself what time you want your speaker to address your audience? Morning/Lunch/Evening? This will also help you estimate potential travel expenses.


The Selection

Upon calling ESB, you will be connected to one of our trusted sales reps that will ask you a series of questions (for which you now have the answers thanks to your prep work).

  • After that introductory phone call, your ESB sales reps will take your criteria and develop a list of recommended speakers for your review. This formal proposal typically comes within three days of your first contact and will include 8-12 speakers (* the number of speakers and turn-around time will be dependent on your need)
  • It’s time to review. Read speaker bios. Watch speaker videos. Read testimonials from past events, and decide which speaker/speakers will fit best your audience.
  • Develop your TOP 3 list and provide to your sales reps. It’s critical to provide options to your reps, as speaker availability will often determine your final choice.

The Agreement

From here, it’s time for ESB to take the reins. We will negotiate all deals with your speaker, and create a contract.

  • Congratulations! Your #1 speaker is available and has agreed to speak at your event!
  • First things first. Review and sign your contract.
  • Once your contract is signed, the speaker will sign their contract, and executed copies will be provided by your sales reps.
  • Pay your deposit for your speaker fees.

The Planning

  • ESB event coordinators, along with your sales reps, will work with you to finalize all of your speaker details. We will provide marketing materials, book any related travel for your speaker, and coordinate communications with your speaker. The important piece is to provide as much detail about your event as possible…as you have it.
  • As your event gets closer, it is likely you will have a pre-event phone call with your speaker. This will help you and your speaker go over any last minute details, and provides a good overview for what to expect during your event. Keep in mind, this is not about event logistics, but rather about your speaker’s style and presentation and details about the audience.
  • Your speaker fee balance will be due approximately 2 weeks prior to the event (can vary based on your speaker). We will send you a reminder for payment.

Day of the Event

  • In most cases, you can expect your speaker to arrive the night before their keynote. Upon arrival at the event, you will want to be sure your speaker is familiar with the stage, and A/V equipment is set up and working correctly. A mic check is a MUST!
  • Prepare for your speaker introduction! In the words of Richard Schelp, “Don’t just read the intro. Learn it.” This will set the stage for your keynote speaker and get your audience excited for what is to come.

The Aftermath

  • Send your thank yous.
  • Time to prepare for next year! It’s never too early to get started.

Now that we have reviewed the steps you need to take to book your keynote speaker, download our complimentary eBook to take a look at some of our top-notch leadership speakers and read about how they can benefit your audience at your next event.


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