Learn How to Find the Best Speakers


Imagine that you are planning your client’s annual conference, and they have assigned you the task of finding the perfect-fit professional speaker. The speaker’s goal is to engage the entire audience during the opening Keynote address, bringing the event to life and energizing the attendees. This will set the tone and energy for the rest of the event. No pressure right? The speaker is “only” going to be addressing the entire audience at once. If it does not go well, I can guarantee you, you will hear about it.

Attendees remember three key aspects of an event: the technology (AV), the F&B and the education or entertainment (speakers). Given this, it is increasingly more important today that the chosen speaker be someone who truly understands how to engage, educate and entertain your audience. Today, attendees want more memorable tangible experiences! Employers want more bang for their buck and education is key to meeting this demand.

What are some of the best ways to ensure that you not only find the best-fit keynote speakers for your client, but also ensure that they are true professionals capable of evoking emotions within the audience, prompting them to think and act differently?

Work With A Professional Agency

Event professionals, while jacks of all trades, know the value of working with an expert in a specific area. This is why we seek out decor companies to help design the visual aspects of an event or why we engage AV companies to handle the technical aspects.

The same applies when seeking professional keynote speakers. There are experts who can save you time, money and energy when seeking out the right speaker. They have dedicated substantial time to vetting speakers, observing a wide array of speaker styles, nurturing pivotal connections with talents, and genuinely comprehending the prerequisites for delivering a compelling, emotionally resonant, engaging, and transformative experience.

Agencies invest significant time into truly understanding a specific speaker’s style, energy, messages, and influence so they excel in advising you on the additional value a speaker can provide and the most effective ways to leverage their strengths. The remarkable aspect of collaborating with specialists? There is no extra cost to you! The speakers cover the agency’s commissions, appreciating our proficiency in connecting them with audiences that aid in delivering their messages globally and realizing the positive impacts they aspire to achieve for others.

Engage Your Speaker Early

The sooner you engage a professional speaker, the more time you’ll have to foster creativity, think innovatively, and devise distinctive and captivating strategies for utilizing your keynote in the lead-up to and during the event. Given the substantial investment you’re making in a professional, why not involve them earlier so they can actively contribute to crafting a transformative audience experience?

In today’s landscape, it’s becoming increasingly common for clients to approach us at later stages. I’ve encountered cases where clients booked a speaker merely four days before their event! There is so much missed opportunities when engaging them so late in the event process.

Consider the unexplored possibilities that open up by initiating the speaker selection process sooner – the potential knows no bounds.

Be Creative With Your Budget

We all know, when seeking out professional speakers, there is a good price tag that comes along with doing so. On average, professional speakers in Canada are charging from $5,000-$20,000/engagement. Much like other pivotal and unforgettable facets of an event, this investment represents a significant allocation of resources, and rightfully so. The crafting of transformative experiences from the mainstage demands genuine talent and skill, which these experts possess and are priced for accordingly.

It’s imperative to recognize that it’s not merely the duration of their appearance; it encompasses all the hours dedicated to meticulous preparation, customization, tailoring, and ultimately delivering a speech that has the power to alter mindsets and effect profound audience transformations.

Explore innovative approaches to maximizing your budget when enlisting the services of professional speakers such as:

1.Reallocate Funds

Have you budgeted for giveaways like water bottles that everyone likely already has many of at home? Wouldn’t directing this budget toward a speaker fee be a more effective approach to crafting a truly unforgettable experience? While it’s true that merchandise holds its appeal, these funds could be repurposed to boost the overall speaker budget.

2.Partner with others

Ask yourself, are there comparable events or organizations with which we could establish partnerships, thereby dividing the speaker’s fees evenly and mutually broadening the audiences? Additionally, what if you were to involve a sponsor and offer them substantial value by designating them as THE sponsor for the day’s speaker? This could encompass granting them the privilege of introducing the speaker from the stage and enabling them to provide the audience with the speaker’s products as complimentary gifts.

3.Multiple Bookings 

Speakers love clients who have multiple sessions, events and opportunities for them to speak and share their messages. Are there upcoming series of events where the speaker’s expertise could seamlessly align? Furthermore, given that the Keynote speaker is already scheduled to be present, considering their skill level, could they be engaged for a breakout session as well? Often, speakers are inclined to offer significant discounts for additional sessions that take place on the same day as an event they are already preparing for. Additionally, there might be an opportunity to extend the speaker’s impact to another division or department within your organization that could greatly benefit from the insights they have to offer

Ultimately, the quest for the ideal keynote speaker requires thoughtful consideration, collaboration with experts, early engagement, and creative budget allocation. By focusing on these elements, you can ensure a captivating, impactful, and unforgettable opening address that propels your client’s Annual Conference to new heights.



Tami Adams is founder of TA Speakers Management, a boutique speaker management, booking, coaching and consulting company in Toronto.



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