The 10 Most Common Mistakes Made When Hiring a Keynote Speaker











If you’ve ever sat through a presentation that left you wondering if you showed up at the wrong venue, most likely the organiser didn’t put much thought into hiring the right keynote speaker. When investing in a keynote speaker you want to get the most bang for your buck, so here’s some common mistakes to avoid.

Booking on name only

Just because everyone knows the speaker, doesn’t make them a good fit. If you are putting on a church symposium you probably wouldn’t want to book John Vlismas.

Hiring a speaker based on what someone told you about a speaker they recently saw

Just because the speaker gave a great performance elsewhere, doesn’t mean their content would be relevant to your upcoming event.

Hiring an “expert” who isn’t a speaker

Just because someone knows their stuff doesn’t mean they can speak in front of a large crowd. Many experts are downright boring. Make sure your expert also has extensive speaking experience.

Not asking for references

A professional speaker will have a wide range of references available. Check them out to be sure you are getting the right fit for your audience.

Not being clear of the objectives for the Speech

A good speaker will make certain they have your objective in the forefront of their mind when they are preparing their presentation. You want your audience to walk away with some clearly defined action items to help them after the event. Similarly, some of the top speakers have a “canned” talk that is incredible because they do it over and over again. However, if you have a theme or strategy around your conference, many of these speakers will not meet with you before the event to really understand your company, audience or goals of the event.

Booking a speaker that has already given 10 talks in your industry

You can make the mistake of booking a speaker that just gave a similar talk to 50% of your audience 3 weeks ago.

Hiring a speaker based on a committee decision

Not a good idea unless you don’t want any one person to be responsible for a negative performance or review by the audience.

Not considering the speaker’s influence

Make sure you talk to the speaker about their online influence before you book him or her. One Tweet or Facebook post to 100,000 people could make a big difference for your company.

Cutting corners on budget

Sure, budgets are tight, but this is one place you’ll want to make sure you keep enough money to land an amazing, impactful speaker.

Hiring a speaker based on the lowest price

This is the worst consideration! If your speaker is free, then they are probably worth every penny of that. With a down-turned economy, a lot of people are willing to present what they know for lower fees or even free, just to get in front of people they can punt their services to. It will be a sales pitch. You Get What You Pay For!

In summary – when investing in your next keynote speaker, be careful to avoid these common mistakes. Otherwise, your audience might start looking for the exit doors.

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