The Event Planner’s Guide To Guest Speaking

Last Updated on October 7, 2021

So, you want to be a guest speaker, do you? Believe it or not, as an event management professional, you’re actually uniquely suited to guest speaking (assuming you’ve knowledge of what you’re presenting on).  This is because, over the course of your career, you’ve gained a unique insight into what’s involved in the creation of a good keynote.

You’ve also dealt with your fair share of speakers. Your working relationship with them has been distilled down to a science; you know exactly what to do in order to keep them happy and ensure they give the best presentation possible. This knowledge – along with your experience as an event planner – will serve you well.

The first piece of advice I’ll give you is something that I’m certain you’ve heard before: presentation is everything. How you dress, how you look, how you carry yourself on stage, how you present yourself to the audience, and how you speak all play a significant part in determining whether or not people pay attention to you. If you’re poorly dressed, awkward, or fidgety, then your presentation isn’t going to go over well. People will be bored.

In all honesty, if you simply present yourself in the same fashion as you would while running an event, then you should do just fine. 

This is where your skills as an event manager come into play. As I’ve said before, modern event planners are all but required to possess a natural aptitude for storytelling. This aptitude will serve you well when you take the stage; whatever topic you’re presenting on, structure your keynote as though you’re telling the audience a story. Have a conversation with them.

Now, I’m not trying to downplay the challenges involved in public speaking. There’s a fair bit of preparation involved in running a keynote: you’re going to need to figure out a topic and design things from there. What’s more, regardless of what you’re planning to speak about you need to be intimately familiar with the material.  I’m not just talking about being an expert in your field, either.

While you do need to allow a bit of flexibility in order to engage with the audience, you’re going to be planning out most of your presentation well in advance – that includes designing slides, working out sound design, and figuring out a script. You’re going to need to memorize that script, by the way. If you fail to do that, things are going to go pear-shaped in short order.

As an event planner, you’re actually uniquely-suited to becoming a guest speaker. Your experience in the field of event management – particularly where planning keynotes and dealing with speakers is involved – will go a long way towards preparing you for the task, while your natural aptitude for storytelling will help you keep your audience interested, entertained, and engaged. So long as you take the necessary steps to prepare yourself, all that’s left is to find a conference to speak at.

All told, it’s really not that much to worry about.