I know that hiring a professional speaker for an event is an important task and can seem overwhelming as well. However, there are a few key points to consider when making this critical selection.

Choosing the right keynote speaker for your corporate event, private function, or training seminar (or workshop) can have a huge impact on the overall success of the entire program. However, with so many expert speakers available, it can be difficult to find the best fit and determine who will best meet the needs of your audience.

Below are 5 points to consider when evaluating whether a particular speaker will be a good fit for your event.

Must Have a Commanding (but Likable) Presence
A strong speaker will have a dynamic presence on stage and off. This person needs to be able to shake up the audience to gain and hold their attention while commanding respect in a fun and memorable way. You’ll want to choose someone who can easily interact with the audience and make them feel comfortable. It’s a good idea for the speaker to attend any pre-conference networking events if it’s a larger conference. For smaller events, joining the group for lunch is also a good idea. This should be a pleasant, easy-going experience for both the speaker and the audience members. It’s up to the speaker to make it that way.

Must be Matched to the Audience
When hiring a keynote speaker, the biggest concern is finding someone who will connect with the audience. The right speaker for a group of doctors will likely be quite different from the right speaker for a group of college-aged entrepreneurs. Each audience will find motivation in different things and will listen to different kinds of people. So, it’s up to the speaker to figure out how to be unique and interesting to THAT audience.

If you are a meeting planner, you’ve likely decided on a basic theme and goals for the conference, so be sure to choose a speaker who will most meet attendees’ expectations, both in content and entertainment, often referred to as “edu-tainment.” If a speaker has several topics to choose from, it’s a good idea to ask if they can combine two or three to better customize a presentation for your event.

Must Have Video of the Speaker in Action
The best way to determine the quality of a speaker is to see him or her in action. If you can’t view a presentation live due to your geographical location, have them point you to recent video clips of them in action if they aren’t readily available on their website. Most professional speakers will have videos available for viewing online (from their website or on YouTube). Watch a few and take note of the energy level, content, audience reaction, and audience interaction.

Must Have a Big Personality
Because your corporate event, private function, or training workshop is a time investment for you and the attendees, you want to get the MOST for that time. You want the audience to learn from the event, remember the message and become transformed. A dull, boring, and “mediocre” speaker can’t deliver that kind of result. Sometimes you have to be in their face (in a subtle way), sometimes a little irreverent (in a professional way), and most of all, be impactful while having fun at the same time. To do that, your keynote speaker better have a BIG personality.

Must Have Recommendations and Experience
It’s likely that the more experience a speaker has, the better the performance will be. Be sure your keynote speaker has client testimonials and recommendations. If a speaker has worked with well-known companies and brands or presented at large events, chances are good that he or she will provide a quality keynote speech.

With so many speakers available, it can be a daunting task to find the right one. So, keep these 5 points as your “checklist” when looking for a keynote speaker for your next public or private function.