Things to Ask When Choosing Your Next Keynote Speaker

5 Things to Ask When Choosing Your Next Keynote Speaker

by Dr. Rick Goodman on June 27, 2019

I freely admit that I’m biased here, but I truly believe that, as you plan your next conference or professional event, choosing the right keynote speaker is key.


Just ask yourself this: Whenever you’re considering attendance at a conference or seminar, don’t you take a few minutes to find out who’s speaking? And if it’s a name you recognize, presenting on a topic you care about, doesn’t that make you much more enthused about the event?


The right keynote speaker can help you attract participants. It can also ensure that participants get something out of the event and remember it fondly.


All that’s to say, your keynote speaker should be chosen with care—but how, exactly?


How to Pick the Right Motivational Speaker


I know a thing or two about being a keynote speaker, and here’s the advice I’d offer.


Will the speaker offer something really unique?


For your conference to be valuable, it has to give participants something they won’t get anywhere else.


A speaker who has the same point of view and the same data points as everyone else isn’t going to provide that. And neither is the speaker who gives the exact same presentation everywhere they go—to the point that your participants would be better off just staying home and watching the speech on YouTube.


It’s critical to talk with speakers and get a sense of the unique value they’re going to bring to your event.


How to Pick the Right Motivational SpeakerHow available will they be?


Some of my most meaningful interactions come not during my keynote address, but afterward, as I mill around, greet people, take questions, and just generally engage the audience.


And I don’t think I’m the only one who feels that way.


It’s through these informal, one-on-one connections that your participants are really going to click with the speaker. So, make sure you find someone who can make themselves available, if not for the whole conference then at least for a few hours. Try not to book someone who’s going to talk for an hour, then immediately rush to the airport to board a plane.


Will they help you promote the event?


A good speaker will help you get the word out about your event—leveraging their social media presence to drum up some buzz and maybe help you sell a few more tickets.


There’s no reason why a speaker should be anything less than helpful in this regard; if they act like they’re too good to mention your event on Facebook or Twitter, then you should honestly just look for someone else.


Do they fit in well with the rest of the event?


Speakers are all going to have their areas of emphasis. For me, that’s transformational leadership, employee engagement, conflict resolution… you know: the things I talk about here on the blog.


So you can always ask yourself: Does this person’s message make sense in the context of the event? Does it reinforce what we’re trying to do here? Or is it a little off-topic?


You may find a really good, really talented speaker who’s just not the right fit for your event, and it’s important to recognize that.


Do they act like a diva?


Yep—I’m just going to say it. If your keynote speaker starts showboating or making ridiculous demands before you even formally hire them, then they’re probably going to be a pain in the neck up to and potentially even during your event.


The Solutions Oriented Leader, for step-by-step advice on transforming your life, your business, and your teamYou probably don’t want to deal with that—and shouldn’t have to. Find someone who can be flexible and easy to get along with. It will make your entire event planning process so much more pleasant.


Those are my tips for hiring a keynote speaker—but I’d love to talk with you further about whether I can be a good fit at your next conference. Let’s chat today! Connect at or call 888-267-6098.

Dr. Rick Goodman5 Things to Ask When Choosing Your Next Keynote Speaker