When planning your business event, one of the most important factors you’re going to want to consider is choosing the right guest speaker.
Oftentimes, when it comes to your guests’ careful consideration of whether event attendance is going to be worthwhile for them, it can come down to none other than the guest speaker lineup sealing the deal.
Everybody who attends any kind of business event does so with one goal in mind: bettering their own business prospects. With this being the case, it’s imperative that you identify and select speakers who are engaging, hold weight in their own field and have true value to offer your attendees.
That’s why we’ve created this blog. So that you can come away not only knowing why having guest speakers at your event is pivotal to success, but how you go about managing and coordinating your guest speakers with ease in the lead up to and at the event itself.
🤓 What is guest speaker management?
Simply put, guest speaker management involves the process of identifying, inviting, and coordinating guest speakers for an event.
The purpose of having a guest speaker is to add value to the event by providing valuable insights, sharing knowledge and expertise, and offering a new perspective on the subject matter, diving in deep to the topics and providing your attendees with all the must have information. So, it’s important that, when sourcing the guest speaker, they are carefully selected based on their expertise and relevance to the event's theme.
Once you’ve found a suitable guest speaker, the management team then communicates with them to confirm their availability and negotiate their fees and travel arrangements ahead of the event.
On the day of the event, the speaker's presentation also needs to be carefully coordinated with the event schedule to ensure a seamless flow. Effective speaker management is critical in ensuring that the event achieves its objectives and leaves a positive impression on attendees.
🎤 The Different Types of Guest Speakers
Now that you understand why guest speakers are important for your event, we’re going to give you a brief rundown of the different types of guest speakers available.
A moderator plays a key role in ensuring the smooth running of any business event. They are responsible for guiding the discussion and keeping the audience engaged. With an experienced moderator, the event will be an informative and engaging experience for all involved.
A keynote speaker is often regarded as the highlight of the event and can set the tone for the rest of the program. The keynote speaker functions as the headliner and sets the tone for the gathering. A good keynote speaker can deliver an inspiring message that resonates with the audience and motivates them to take action. A keynote speaker typically has the ability to engage and captivate the audience, leaving a lasting impression on your attendees. As such, it is important to carefully consider the qualifications and experience of potential speakers before making the decision to invite them to be your keynote.
A panelist is a person who is invited to participate in a discussion or debate on a specific topic, sometimes elaborating on what the Keynote speaker has discussed. Panelists may be experts in their field, industry leaders, or professionals with relevant experience.
This is someone who is in charge of leading a workshop or training session for attendees. The workshop leader may also act as a facilitator, encouraging participants to share their thoughts and ideas, and guiding discussions to help achieve the desired outcomes.
A closing speaker is who will be delivering the final address or presentation of the day. You typically invite this person to speak after the other guest speakers have already presented. The role of a closing speaker is to provide a memorable and impactful conclusion to the event, leaving attendees with a lasting impression of the event as a whole. Very often, an event chooses to space out their most anticipated speakers throughout the event to keep excitement levels high amongst delegates and ensuring full participation throughout the event.
💡 Tips For Researching and Shortlisting Potential Guest Speakers
Often, the part of choosing your keynote speaker can be relatively easy, as you may already have a “wish list” of inspirational figures in your field that you’d love to work with. However, some factors that you need to consider and research when choosing a keynote speaker at your event are:
- Their relevance to your company, brand and theme of the event. Alignment on the basics is the first thing you need to consider.
- Their expertise within their field is also paramount. Ensure that your keynote speaker is well respected for their work so that your audience feels inspired to attend due to their being there.
- As with expertise, your keynote speaker should have specific skills that set them above the rest.
- Does their brand and ethos match that of your own and your target audience? If not, it’s unlikely your target audience will want to invest. So, make sure both your and your guest speakers’ target audience are similar.
- Being mindful of their availability is a key research point – whilst you want to be accommodating to their schedule, you want to ensure that their availability ties in with the timing of your own event.
- Making sure that the guest speaker fits within your budget from the outset avoids overstretching your overheads and putting the events team in awkward situations.
📖 Guest Speaker Management Etiquette
Your guest speakers are, just like anyone else you interact with in a business capacity, a new networking opportunity. Someone who, after your event is over, will remember you and your brand and likely share tales of their experience forward to other companies. This is why it’s important to create a smooth process that is positive, respectful and mutually beneficial for both parties involved.
Here are a few basic etiquette tips to help you successfully manage your guest speakers:
Clear communication and guidance
Transparency is key when working alongside any business associate. Keep your guest speakers involved with any updates or changes as they happen. Consider sending through their speaker information in a pack that covers all the information they need to know about the business and the event that can serve as point of reference to them at every stage of the event.
You will want to ensure that you respond to your guest speaker’s queries in a timely manner. This means that you may want to think about giving them a dedicated phone number or email address so that you can personally ensure that any query they have is dealt with quickly and so that the speaker feels ‘heard’ by the business at all times.
Payment on time
Nobody likes to be left waiting, particularly when it comes to payment. So, make sure you let them know that their invoice for services rendered is of utmost priority. This also means getting clear with your business's payment terms so that you can pass on the correct information to the speaker.
Professionalism and respectful behaviour
This one is a bit of a no brainer, but let's mention it anyway. Ensure that, when engaging with your guest speaker, you keep the tone of conversation professional and that topics covered are specific to the event goal.
Provide proper accommodations and transportation
Be sure to arrange comfortable accommodation as well as reliable transportation both to and from the event. We are not expecting you to give your speaker the 5 Star, First Class options at every turn, but whether your speaker has slept the evening before and knows that their belongings will still be where they left them in the hotel room will go a long way towards your guest speaker giving an Oscar winning performance at your event.
Your post-event interactions with your guest speakers are equally as important as the first discussion you’ll have with them. Show your appreciation with a token letter, gift, or, most importantly, a positive review or recommendation to another company on your networking list. They are then likely to pay the same gratitude forward.
🚀 Best Practices for Maximising the Impact Of Your Guest Speakers
Once you’ve sourced a suitable guest speaker, you need to use this to your advantage and get the very most out of having them at your event. Here’s a few things you should consider:
Introduce your speakers
Marketing your guest speakers ahead of your event is important for overall event success rate. Make sure that your attendee’s hear all about the speakers in attendance with an effective introduction during pre-event marketing as well as at the event itself.
Get a grip on the tech
Familiarising yourself and your guest speaker with any technology that’s being used on the day. Some tech can be used in the lead up to the event itself, so speakers will have time to get to grips with the tech used, ensuring they feel confident with the systems you have in place by the time of the event.
Facilitate your attendee interaction with speakers using a user-friendly event app, like Eventee. This encourages engagement throughout the event. Encouraging speakers to ‘get on board’ with the app beforehand gives speakers and attendees a chance to network with one another and for speakers to have a better understanding of who they will be speaking to and their needs.
Create event buzz
Increase attendee engagement using a feature such as Eventee’s social wall. This allows them to share their mutual excitement for the upcoming conference with your guest speaker, creating a buzz before and during the event. This feature also allows the guest speaker to see what questions could be asked during Q and A sessions and what elements of the talk attendees are most excited about.
Make sessions interactive
Make the guest speaker’s session as interactive as possible. By using an app to create polls, questions and live feedback to talk can be an extremely inclusive and exciting experience for attendees and speakers alike.
Pre-event rehearsals are a key way to make sure your event runs smoothly. If both your guest speaker and you are confident with the processes in place it will ensure everything transitions seamlessly, providing the most positive experience for your attendees.
Ask for feedback
An often missed area of guest speaker management is gaining feedback from not only attendees but the guest speaker themselves. This can be done in a number of ways (don’t forget Eventee has a live feedback feature for on the go feedback). Gaining insightful feedback means you will be able to readjust your management strategy the next time your conference comes around.
💪 How Eventee Can Help Create the Best Experience For Your Guest Speaker And Attendees
We don’t like to make life difficult at Eventee. In fact, we have precisely the opposite approach. Which is why we created our event app, to make your life as an event host and guest speaker coordinator as simple as it can be. Here are some ways the Eventee app can help you apply the tips shared in this blog.
- Eventee allows you, as an organiser, to create profiles for your guest speakers and showcase them within the app. This way your attendees have everything they need to know about your speaker at their fingertips – including their photo, contact information, social media, company and job position. Alongside their website, a bio and where they’re based.
- Through the Eventee app, speakers can engage attendees during their sessions. Giving both the speaker and attendees the opportunity to interact via live polls, live questions and even live feedback.
- And since you’ve chosen such a riveting guest speaker that your attendees can’t get enough of, they can even chat and arrange meetings with speakers via the Networking feature within the Eventee app.
✍️ In conclusion
Managing your event speaker is a fine line between researching an event speaker that is going to enliven your event and resonate with potential attendees, as well as organising them beforehand and on the day with effective communication that can be helped by the use of ingenuitive tech such as Eventee. We hope that the tips we’ve shared are helpful to you as you begin to source your next guest speaker. If you’re looking for more event hosting tips and guidance, you can find a whole host of blogs, covering all things events on the Eventee blog.