How to choose the Best Keynote Speaker?

How to choose the Best Keynote Speaker?

How to choose the best Keynote Speaker & speech for your Internal Management (Corporate) Event?

The most common mistake I’ve seen event organisers make when choosing a Keynote Speaker for an internal management event is to start looking for a speaker based on the topic of the event or the topic of the speech.

The goal of this article is to help you resolve the most common error when choosing a Keynote Speaker for your internal management event, so you can troubleshoot problems before they happen.


In the 1000’s of events I’ve participated in, all too often an event organiser started their search for a Keynote Speaker by saying: “I need a speaker on Innovation / Leadership / Branding / Growth (or whatever the theme of the event is).” However, in my experience, this is not the most effective way of finding the right speaker because the topic of the speech is often not the most important thing. Instead, it is about their qualities and ability to align & inspire your team. For more insights see our article: What is a Keynote Speech / Speaker?


The topic of a speech is not the most important thing.


The Purpose of your Event.

An internal management event can take place annually to reflect and plan forward, seasonally as an opportunity to align strategy, or in a unique moment in time (the launch of a new product, an anniversary, a merger, a crisis, a celebration, etc). Whatever the event is, all internal management events work to fulfil the same goal of every organisation: Growth.

An event can help grow your organisation by 1) Aligning, & 2) Inspiring.

One of the great problems every organisation faces is in creating a shared vision: Getting everyone to work in a collaborative way and move in the same direction of travel. While many organisations have a vision and direction of travel, every organisation needs to repeatedly remind their teams of what this is, why it is important, and how we use this to upgrade our daily actions.

The essence of the word inspiration is to ‘breathe into’; inspiration can give new life and energy to your activities. This makes inspiration a very practical thing; this is because the best inspiration is both aspirational and operational. In other words, it gives a clear sense of possibility in what can be achieved, and it also gives practical actions that can be taken today.


The Keynote Speaker must be able to align & inspire your organisation.


Qualities of the Keynote Speaker.

Now that we are clear on the Purpose of your internal management event (to help grow your organisation by aligning & inspiring your team) we can now define the qualities a Keynote Speaker needs to optimise your event.

To create alignment the Keynote Speaker must be empathic to be able to resonate with the audience. I have unfortunately seen speakers talk ‘at’ the audience instead of ‘with’ the audience. This not only created dis-alignment, but it also alienated the audience from each other, from the speaker, and from the opportunities the speaker was talking about. Empathy is the essential quality of a speaker to resonate with your team.

Next, the Keynote Speaker must be holistic in their content; whatever topic they are discussing, they must be able to relate it to the culture your organisation, to the specific stage of growth your organisation is currently in, and to your current strategy. For example, if a speaker is talking about a topic such as ‘Block-Chain Technologies’ they need to be able to not only communicate the essence of this topic clearly, they must also be able to relate it to your organisation.

Finally, to make your event work the Keynote Speaker must be flexible. The speaker must be able to adapt to possible changes in the program before the event, the changing dynamics on the day, and to the reaction of the audience at the moment. A speaker should be on your side to do whatever it takes to make the event work; great Keynote Speakers are also problem solvers.


The Keynote Speaker must be empathic, holistic, & flexible.


In summary, to choose the best Keynote Speaker & speech for your internal management event do not start by looking for a speaker based on the topic of the speech. Instead look for a Keynote Speaker who is able to create alignment with an empathic speech, inspire your teams with holistic content, and make your event work by being flexible.

If you want a full description of its benefits before you download this Checklist, check out the Keynote Speaker BEST FIT Checklist page and you will see all the reasons why.

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