You may have noticed that lots of events such as conferences and trade shows now advertise keynote or guest speakers in order to encourage more people to attend. It’s a great strategy, as it allows organizers to present more value for money and capitalize on the speaker’s status to add credibility.
It may also be that attendees are more likely to buy tickets to the same event next year if they find the speakers especially memorable, so booking one could ensure more return on investment.
I was at TechVenture 2013 in Singapore for the past 2 days and heard some wonderful speakers. One of them was Kevin Hale, one of the co-founders of Wufoo, who gave the keynote speech: Building and scaling a billion dollar business. (For those who are interested in the slides, it can be found here). For me, that was worth the ticket price. During lunch today, I gather the same vibes from a few other fellow event attendees. (For those who do not know Wufoo, they make great forms for websites. We have the same belief as them – great forms should be enabled in minutes, rather than days, by users, not IT).
Customising your event registration form with dependency fields can easily be done in minutes using GEVME Form Builder
But how can you get a great speaker for your own exhibition or conference? The first thing to consider is what type of speech you want. For TechVenture, the target audience is a mixture of start-ups seeking funding, inspiration and advice, as well as Venture Capitalists as a hunting ground for the next big thing. So getting an inspirational speaker who has been there, done that, such as Kevin, is a great draw for many of us.
Next, look for someone who falls into the category you want – there are websites that advertise them, such as APB Speakers International or Jan Jones Worldwide that has a list of reputable luminaries, such as ex-president, CEOs of top listed companies such as Sir Richard Branson or motivational speakers.
Of course be careful of your budget though, as the most famous people may be very expensive. Also, don’t forget that you may have to factor in their travel and food expenses. Some may also require insurance coverage, as I understand from one of our clients.
Once you’ve chosen your speaker and they have agreed to your dates, get a contract set up so they don’t forget or let you down. Always try to insert a clause (where possible) that the contract is time-based, and not session-based, so that you can try to organise a separate ticketed session and get co-sponsors to offset the cost of getting them in, in exchange for an exclusive session among a smaller group of attendees.
Get them to send you a copy of their speech too, as you can check it for inappropriate content such as swear words.
When the event rolls around, choose a prominent position for your guest so they feel welcome and as many people as possible can hear the speech. Also, give them a good introduction so latecomers have time to take their seats.
Finally, don’t forget to promote your keynote speaker to encourage potential ticket buyers to come and watch. Feature them prominently on your event landing page, and your email invites when you send out invitations to register and book tickets in order to generate interest.
So start your journey of leveraging on prominent attendance-drawing speakers to add prestige and draw attendees to your event today!