Home' micenet eMag : micenet October 2017 Contents EVENT CONTENT | PETA MOORE
ike so many of us, I have seen my
fair share of keynote speakers over
the years. And like so many
experiences in life, we often
remember the shockers as much as we
remember the standouts. One of the biggest
steps in designing a compelling conference
program is selecting the keynote speaker.
Why? Just as the name suggests, the
keynote sets the tone of the program and
acts as a drawcard to attract delegates in the
first place. However, the choice shouldn’t be
led by just a ‘name’ – a high profile speaker
could be a bad fit for your business or
association. Yes the impact could be lasting,
but not in a good way! A keynote should be
memorable and influential; it could be thought-
provoking, persuasive, even revelational but it
must always add value to the conference by
establishing the core message and framework
for the rest of the program. Add into the mix
that keynotes can be a significant investment
for your conference or event budget and the
pressure is certainly on to nail it! Here are
some tips when selecting a keynote speaker
for your next event:
1 Take a step back
Do your research. Have you identified ‘what’s
new’, pressure points and ‘hot topics’ within
the industry? If not, do it. You will also need
to set measurable conference objectives to
guide you. Ask yourself, what will be
achieved by bringing this group together?
2 Know your audience
We previously talked about the importance of
audience profiling and we’re not just talking
Speaker selection is imperative to a succcessful event, says Peta Moore.
YOU WERE WHEN...
about demographics. This step will paint a clear picture of why a delegate would attend your
conference – what are they looking for? If you answer this question with your keynote, you will
drive attendance to your event.
3 Set the tone and flow
A conference theme, whether published or not, is important in establishing the tone you want
your keynote to set and the key message you need them to convey and support. You will also
need to look at the flow of the program and determine when a keynote presentation will add
value. It’s all about creating the overall story you want to tell at your event. For instance, you
may consider keynotes not only to open and close the program but also after lunch, traditionally
considered the graveyard shift. Or you might engage a keynote for the conference dinner.
4 Have a brief (and stick to it!)
There are so many speakers to choose from, all with different experiences, styles and
messages. As a result it is vital that you have a very clear brief for each keynote session of the
conference. When shortlisting, this brief will serve as an important reference, especially if you’re
working with a committee or team who will invariably have differing opinions and
recommendations. Alignment with the session brief and their ability to be able to tailor the
presentation for your audience has to be a priority when choosing a keynote speaker.
5 Ask around
Your colleagues are a great source of information, so if you are considering a particular speaker
ask for recommendations. If someone has seen them first hand, they’ll be able to give you a fair
assessment of a speaker’s ability to meet your brief. I also like to have a chat with potential
speakers over the phone to get a sense of how they’ll be to work with, and what types of key
messages they will convey in their presentation. Don’t forget, speakers’ bureaux are the experts.
6 Assess logistics
When defining the content goals for each session, you will also need to consider other decision
influencers such as budget, room setup and audience size. Do you want the session to have
interaction from the audience; how will that be managed? These factors may also impact your
choice of a keynote speaker.
7 Have realistic expectations
The role of a keynote speaker is to move an audience to think and ultimately act in a different
way. However, it’s important to remember that a keynote has a short period of time (usually 45
to 60 minutes) to achieve this. During this time, the speaker can take the audience on a journey
by persuading them to look in a new direction, and often a speaker will call for a commitment
from the audience towards change. They shouldn’t be expected to cover in-depth strategy. m
Learn more about Peta Moore and Nectar Creative Communications at www.nectarcc.com.au.
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