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Managing Your Keynote Speaker

Before you call the Speaker: Planning

  • Speakers often keep a busy schedule and travel a great deal. Arrange a conference call at a set date and time with the speaker’s office. This way, you are sure to have your speakers full attention for at least an hour without dealing with constant interruptions.
  • Contact the speaker’s office at least three months in advance if possible. (Allow more time if your date is set in stone and your chosen speaker is in high demand.)
  • Have a clear topic and purpose for the keynote. If you are unsure, a seasoned professional speaker can help narrow things down for you and create a program that will wow your audience and make you look good at the same time.
  • Be able to describe your audience: demographics, job responsibilities, current strengths, weaknesses and issues of concern.
  • Have dates, location and the desired duration of the program if possible. The more details you can get “set in stone” with the speaker directly, the better!
  • Have a budget and be ready to discuss expenses such as airfare, lodging and meals depending on the structure of your agreement.

Securing a keynote speaker for your date

Some speakers will accept a temporary hold on their calendar for your event until you are ready to make a firm commitment. Others will require a contract and/or deposit before committing to speak at your event.

Preparing a keynote speaker for your event

  • Many speakers will provide you with a pre-program questionnaire once the date is booked and a contract is signed. It is important to return these forms promptly and discuss any questions you may have.
  • Book and confirm a hotel room for the speaker, preferably at the location of the event, and send them the confirmation. Guarantee late arrival for your speaker’s hotel room and check him in before he/she arrives. Check the room to make sure everything is in order. Arrange for direct billing to your organization. This eliminates paperwork for you after the event, and makes check-in and-out a painless experience.
  • Most speakers prefer to book their own airfare and will arrange transportation to and from the airport. If you are handling these details, make sure their are no time conflicts with the speaker’s schedule and send them all confirmations.
  • Arrange a conference call with the speaker as the event draws nearer to go over details and last minute questions.
  • Let the speaker know of any functions you would like him or her to attend (time permitting), the dress code for the event and provide them with an event agenda.

The Speaker at the event

  • Leave a message for your guest speaker to receive upon his/her check-in. Indicate your room number, or how he/she can get in touch with you when he/she arrives.
  • Prepare the audio/video crew for a microphone check with the speaker.
  • Make sure that the guest speaker’s introduction has been given to the person who will introduce him/her.
  • Instruct the introducer to deliver the introduction exactly as it was prepared by the speaker.
  • Ensure that the speaker’s name is spelled correctly on the printed program and on his/her name badge.
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Garrison Wynn