Features, Life of an Event Manager
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How to Choose the Perfect Keynote Speaker for Corporate Events        

How often have you felt satisfied or inspired after attending a corporate event? Has it been worth your time, having dedicated at least a quarter of a day to it? Did the event deliver what it promised?

These questions are intriguing and pretty obvious for the audience to ask, as they leave the venue and contemplate the value they’ve gained from attending an event.

The success of any corporate event depends on its agenda, execution, the takeaway for the audience and the education or knowledge imparted by the speakers. While the aesthetics, hospitality, and feel of an event leave a strong impression on the audience, a keynote speaker can turn the tables for better (and even for worse).

Although choosing the right speaker isn’t exactly rocket science, it does involve ticking off a carefully curated checklist to ensure that the speaker fits perfectly in the entire set of jigsaw pieces that come together to create a stellar event.

1. What are you aiming to achieve through the event?

All corporate events are planned to deliver some message – it could be a product launch, a press conference, networking with customers and prospects or simply an annual meeting for the company’s employees. For any event, there should always be a clear, established purpose that centers around the audience. This means having the right keynote speaker delivering the content. Every keynote speaker is different and has his/her own blueprint. Depending on the aim, either an industry expert, a celebrity or a motivational speaker can be chosen. Most corporate events engage keynote speakers from the industry, the ones who are experts in their fields. The overall message of the event should percolate into the keynote speaker’s address. It should be in line with the learnings you want the audience to leave with. Only then will your event be relevant and something worth remembering, talking about, and coming back to next year.

2. Can the keynote speaker deliver content that coincides with the agenda?

It is human nature to have an affinity for the most popular names, celebrities, role models and inviting them to deliver a talk at an event, especially to attract a wide audience. While it does sound intuitive to attract greater numbers of guests, the most vital criteria when deciding on a speaker is to gauge his relevance to the purpose of the event. A person from the industry, who can reach out to the audience with substantial content should be considered as the speaker. A keynote speaker should set the tone of the program that matches the agenda. An industry professional will have both credentials and academic knowledge. He/she would have a thorough understanding of the specific nuances of the industry, the current challenges and an opinion on the anticipated future trends. To be able to match the expectation of the audience with the passion of the speaker for a given subject will result in the desired interaction, thus making your event a success.

3. What makes your keynote speaker unique?

Why would any attendee choose to travel to your venue when instead he can attend a myriad of similar events both offline and online? An experienced and a good speaker would know how to tailor his speech to maintain its authenticity while appealing to a specific audience. The main advantage of attending an event in person is the connection that is established with the speaker. One way is for the attendees to personally contact the speaker before or after the event. The willingness of a speaker to engage with the crowd adds a human element to the event, thus taking it a notch higher. The ability of the speaker to engage the crowd with his knowledge, charisma, and attitude is what will set him/her apart from other speakers making your event more appealing to attend to.

4. Does the speaker fit within your budget?

The scale of an event is bound to the expenses it will incur. Research and understand the fees a speaker would charge which will include a base fee, travel, and accommodation. The more notable and famous a speaker is, the higher will be the costs. Choose a speaker that fits within the budget without compromising on the quality of the event. Some speakers might have requirements for special tools or equipment such as audiovisuals, laser points or microphones which might incur additional costs.

5. How easily can the speaker entice your audience?

Once you have ticked off the other considerations, you will have to evaluate a few more qualities of the speaker. A lot weighs on the personality and the attitude of a speaker.

Confidence

This is a no-brainer. Nothing would put off an audience more than a speaker who is not confident of the subject he/she is talking about. The ability to be accurate, competent, credible, knowledgeable definitely account as traits of a good speaker.

Communication skills

To be able to communicate the content by grasping the necessary points and selling the theme of the event by merely using speech can create an engaging atmosphere. A good keynote speech should be fluent, pragmatic and memorable.

Entertainment

A good speaker would understand the importance of having witty humor.  Humour can serve as a lubricant. The perfect ratio of humor in speeches can maintain an exciting atmosphere for the audience without which you may be risking at boring your audience into sleep, or worse, leaving the event mid-way.

Vibrant personality

A dynamic individual having a charismatic personality can draw wide attention from the audience. Such speakers are more likable and establish a better connection with the audience. They are able to inspire and unify the audience using a strong keynote speech.

Personalization

When you hear real-life anecdotes, you appreciate the experience and relate more to the speaker. Personal observations go a long way when you have to sell the principles you’re trying to convey. A good keynote speaker knows how to personalize segments which aid in building a positive relationship with the audience.


During our research for this article, we had a chance to come across a few notable speakers who have made their way to the top by imbibing these qualities and are recognized as successful keynote speakers.

Akash Gautam

Akash Gautam is one of the most sought-after motivational speakers for corporate events. He regularly gets invited as a celebrity speaker at TEDx, top IIMs (Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bangalore, Lucknow & others), IITs (Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai etc), XLRI, MDI, SRCC & other leading colleges in India. He has more than 18 years of experience, 1300+ events (with an audience attendance count of more than 7,50,000). He promises ‘Life changing events. Always!’. His genre is sarcasm & humor. His high energy events are motivating minus the boring gyaan (theory).

More details about him can be found here: https://akashgautam.com/

Ambi Parameswaran

Ambi is the Founder of Brand-Building.com, a brand advisory. He is a former CEO of FCB Ulka Advertising, one of India’s top ad agencies. Ambi has authored articles for premier business publications and has been a speaker at international forums including the Kellogg India Conference at Northwestern University; he has also been a guest faculty at several business schools including SPJIMR, ISB, and IIMC. He has written eight books on branding, advertising, and consumer behavior. He enjoys talking about understanding the Indian market, connecting with the changing Indian consumers, strategic branding/living the brand, understanding media in India, socio-cultural trend spotting, how religion impacts our marketing world.

More details about him can be found here: https://in.linkedin.com/in/aparameswaran

Vinita Bali

Vinita Bali is a global business leader with extensive experience in leading large companies, both in India and overseas. She has worked with eminent multinationals like The Coca-Cola Company and Cadbury Schweppes PLC in a variety of marketing and general management roles in the UK, Nigeria, South Africa, Chile and the USA, in addition to Britannia Industries Ltd., in India. Vinita is a speaker at various industry and academic forums in India and overseas and has spoken at global events like Chocovision and Agrovision in Europe; at several UN events in the US and Europe and at industry events in India, Singapore, Europe, and the USA. She enjoys talking about management & leadership, brands and marketing, business and personal leadership, corporate responsibility, innovation, consumer and economic landscape and its implications for business.

More details about her can be found here: https://londonspeakerbureau.com/speaker-profile/vinita-bali/

Gurucharan Das

Gurcharan Das is an author, commentator, and consultant. He was CEO, Procter & Gamble India and later Managing Director, Procter & Gamble Worldwide (Strategic Planning). Prior to P&G, he was Chairman and Managing Director, Richardson Hindustan Limited. Gurcharan Das graduated with honors from Harvard University and later attended Harvard Business School (AMP) where he is featured in three case studies. He writes a regular column in five Indian newspapers, including the Times of India and periodically contributes to the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal Foreign Affairs, and New York Times. He talks about management & leadership, branding & design and understanding India.

More details about him can be found here: http://gurcharandas.org/


Are you a corporate or business speaker (or have a favorite one)? Do tell our readers about it and what you love to talk about.

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