Finding the right keynote speaker for your event can pose a serious challenge.

Thanks to the Internet, locating experienced speakers has never been easier. But how can you be sure you’ve chosen the right one without having seen them give a presentation? How can you be sure you’ve found the right person, given the huge array of options? How can you discover an up-and-coming talent that will engage your audience?

To help, we’ve summarized in six steps the things to keep in mind when researching and selecting the best keynote speaker for you.

6 steps to finding the right speaker for you

In our experience, there are at least six steps to follow when deciding whom to hire.


  1. Choose the topic

What do you want your speaker to talk about? Sometimes we limit ourselves to answering this important question with generalities: “innovation,” “digital transformation,” “the future,” etc., but choosing right speaker requires you to describe the topic you want them to cover with as much precision and detail possible. This is the only way that you can begin to narrow down the field of candidates. Another piece of advice is to be skeptical of speakers that claim to be able to present on practically any topic.


  • Purpose

Be clear about what you hope to get out of the conference. What is its purpose? Should the speaker give information, entertain, provoke, motivate, inspire, or teach something to the audience?

An underutilized strategy at this point in the process is to create a series of questions for members of your intended audience—in other words, your potential attendees. For example:

  • What are your main reasons for attending this event?
  • What kind of valuable professional information would you like to get for a current project or situation at your business?
  • What type of guests would you like to hear speak and why?


  • Think about your intended audience

In addition, you must consider the demographics of your target audience. An academic audience will have very different expectations of a speaker than a sales team, for example.


  • Set a budget

You should plan on how much you want to spend on a speaker; this budget should include the keynote speaker’s fee as well as other associated costs, such as lodging or travel expenses.

A larger budget will allow you to access higher profile professionals, but you should keep in mind that the amount of money you are willing to pay is still just one factor among the other steps we’ve included. In other words, a large budget doesn’t by itself guarantee the right choice.


  • The speaker’s profile

Once you have a group of possible candidates, the profile-analysis part of the process begins.

Research the speakers’ online and offline presence to determine whether or not they will be influential with your audience.

A good keynote speaker will make substantive comments and contributions to the discussion on their social media and blogs.


  • Professionalism

If the speaker is hard to reach, takes a long time to respond to emails, or is difficult to work with when coordinating outstanding items, you should take them off the list.

A speaker isn’t simply a professional guest who shows up at an event to share their knowledge, they must also be committed to contributing to its success.

That’s why professional speakers will give you the option of adapting their presentation to meet the needs of your target audience. Additionally, the speaker should send the following items, along with information regarding their fees:

  • A presentation proposal with concrete examples of how the audience will benefit.
  • An overview of his or her career and qualifications.
  • Links to lectures, videos, publications, and references documenting his or her experience.

In addition, be sure to clarify what rights you have to their talk. Can you record with image and sound? In part or in its entirety? Can you post it to your website or YouTube channel? Don’t take anything for granted, because there are many speakers who, for strategic reasons, have strict conditions regarding these issues.

Beyond these 6 steps, Thinking Heads offers you the individual, professional advice you need to turn your next event into a success.

You can even go right to our search engine, where we’ve chosen to list the best keynote speakers in the world by topic.

The web is full of notable figures which have earned special recognition as business leaders, scientists, politicians, journalists, athletes, and artists, to name just a few.

A professional process is necessary when selecting speakers who will impart new and interesting ideas to your audiences. This process includes important factors such as the proposal, budget, media profile, and expectations.

If you’re looking for speakers who will boost and motivate audiences and dedicate themselves to your goals for your event, considering opting for professional agencies that facilitate each step until you meet your objective.