5 Ways to Leverage a Guest Speaker for Maximum Effect

Last Updated on October 7, 2021

A good guest speaker can be the most memorable aspect of an event – but only if they’re properly managed. It isn’t enough to simply plop down an orator in front of an audience. There’s a certain art to it, a sort of delicate dance which will require you to juggle your own objectives, your speaker’s desires, and your budget. Mastering that dance is the key to populating your events with effective keynotes.

Here are just a few things you can do to ensure you get the most out of your speakers.

Draw Up A Decent Contract

The first thing you’re going to want to do is lay down a few ground rules. What sort of fees are you going to be paying? How will you provide for the speaker’s expenses? What sort of schedule will they have to keep, and how will you handle cancellations?

These are all questions you need to ask before you bring a guest speaker in. Experts exist at pretty much every pay grade, so money isn’t necessarily a problem – it’s all a matter of how much you’re willing to spend on a speaker. The most expensive, best-known celebrities aren’t always going to be the best choice. Go for someone who your attendees will be able to easily relate to or admire. 

Understand The Different Types Of Guest Speakers – And Which One You Need

Believe it or not, there are many different ‘breeds’ of guest speaker. A comedian keeps the room in stitches, ensuring above all else that they’re entertained. A motivational speaker, on the other hand, will inspire and uplift your audience, driving them to do great things. An industry expert, meanwhile, will go on-stage with a strong knowledge base, keeping guests interested with their mastery of information. 

Of course, there’s no reason a guest speaker can’t be a combination of those three – truth be told, it’s probably better if they are. Oh, and don’t forget to think about trying to bring in a celebrity or two, if you think you can afford it. They usually tend to be quite effective at drawing people to an event.

Set Up Equipment To Record The Occasion

There’s no reason the people in the room should be the only ones able to attend your keynote. Set up live-streaming technology, and record the presentation to upload as a highlight later. This’ll give people something to talk about after the event– and to show their friends who weren’t lucky enough to be there.  Basically, this is one of the ways in which you can utilize social media to better your event.

Get Your Speaker’s Input On Your Setup

Although not all speakers know how a hall should be set up, veteran guest speakers tend to have a very good sense for what works (and what doesn’t).  Defer to them. Ask them for their thoughts on how the room’s set up, and for any suggestions on how you might do things better.

Host A Q&A Session (Or Two)

Don’t just toss your speaker up on the stage and have them go through their presentation. Plan for a Q&A session after they’re done talking, so that the audience can engage more deeply with the topic – but make sure the audience knows in advance, so they can put together some top-notch questions. Of course, you’ll also need to provide the necessary audio equipment (microphones, mostly) for your audience to ask questions.  The (small) additional cost will end up being worth it, though – people tend to remember things much more vividly when they get the chance to actively participate.