Is choosing a keynote speaker for your event like choosing a couch for your new house?


Does that sound like a strange analogy? It really isn’t. Here’s why.

I have an aunt who is an interior decorator. But she’s more than that. She’s a very wise woman in addition to being a gifted painter and sculptor. She has a clear philosophy when it comes to decorating a room. And that is: You can start with anything. If you fall in love with a rug, start with that and build your room around it. Buy a couch and you can just as easily start with that. It doesn’t matter what you begin with. What matters is how creatively you integrate the rest.

Planning a company or a client event is much the same. You have to start somewhere. If you already have a theme for your event, choose a speaker that fits your theme. Or, if you already have a speaker in mind, go right ahead and book him or her. And then build your theme around your speaker. But don’t go off in all different directions. Either the speaker or the theme should dictate every other element of your event, from the decorations to the giveaways, to the way you name your breakout sessions, right down to the confetti on your registration tables.

For example, if your theme is “Technology: The Next Generation” you’ll want a visionary speaker, a “futurist.” If your speaker is Sam Parker and he’s going to talk about “212, the extra degree” then your theme should be all about heat. For example “Hot New Technologies.”  

How do you go about finding the perfect keynote speaker? I’ve used speaker bureaus like Big Speak,, and The Harry Walker Agency, Those sites let you search by topic and type so you can do your own research. Sometimes, though, it’s easier to hook up with a member of their support team. You can let them know what your theme is as well as your price range and they’ll send you a relevant list that fits your criteria. That way you have short list. Otherwise it can be too time consuming. But whether you’re doing your own research or using a short list provided by an agency, view the video clips which are extremely helpful.  

What features are you looking for in the videos? In my expert opinion, you don’t want a speaker who just stands behind the podium and goes through a PowerPoint script. That’s boring. You want a speaker who moves around the stage and interacts with your attendees. You want a speaker who challenges your attendees to think. And for Pete’s sake, don’t skimp on price. A great keynote speaker kicks your event off in the right direction by creating excitement. That buzz at the beginning of your event means that your attendees will be buzzing all day long.

Marketing Matters is committed to making your event unique, engaging, colorful, fun and successful.