New York event planners will often feel like they’re in the “keynote speaker management” business more than they are event planning. You likely know the struggles, too. First, you have to find and hire a great speaker who can bring value and entertainment. But then you have to make sure they’re ready to meet your time constraints, have everything they need to execute on stage and keep them content. There are tips and insights, though, that might be helpful for you in rolling out that red carpet for your speakers. Check out some of these nuggets of advice that seem to work well for many event planners.
Choosing the Right Keynote Speakers & Topics
Certain professionals are great speakers on certain topics. But it’s important to conduct a needs analysis on your event client to make sure the chosen speaker is bringing all the relevant information beyond the entertainment. It’s a good fit if there will be key takeaways the audience needs. Find and work with those speakers who can deliver on all fronts and in line with the mission and theme of the event. The keynote speakers don’t want to deliver a mediocre experience any more than you do, and they’ll appreciate the needs analysis discussion upfront.
Working Through the Logistics
Be a supportive liaison to iron out all the logistics with your keynote speakers. Take the steps necessary, and early on, to make sure they’re not experiencing any trouble with their flight, accommodations, or travel. Create a layer of customer service from day one that allows you to check in with them periodically in the weeks and days leading up to the New York event, just to make sure they’re not having trouble with any of the logistics.
Resources, Timing, and Preparation
As the event planner, it’s your job to itemize the agenda and timeline. Your keynote speakers expect you to communicate with them on those designated timelines, including brainstorming about the best way to condense messaging and deliver stage engagements effectively. Get in there with them and demonstrate all the tools and resources they’ll have at their disposal, including a dry run with audiovisual equipment. And once you believe you’ve prepared them for the best performance, ask them again what else they might need to make it perfect in their minds.
Following up After the Event
Once the event is over, make an effort to follow up with all of your keynote speakers. Ask for their feedback about the event, including areas of improvement. Be gracious and thank them for having been a significant contributor to the engagement. And ask about their willingness to speak again should you have other events that need their creative insights and expertise. From there, you can build an ongoing relationship with speakers, allowing you to build a pool of great experts to use ongoing with all your events.
Roll out the red carpet for your keynote speakers and develop strategic relationships with them. Be a champion supporter in their corner, and they’ll look forward to working with you on other speaking projects and conferences.
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