Checklist for booking a conference or keynote speaker


A guest speaker, keynote speaker or MC can make or break your event!! There are literally thousands of events everyday, and an equal number of event planners looking for guest speakers, keynote speakers and MCs to speak at their events. But how do you know who to select amongst the myriad of speakers? Erik Vermeulen has been on the global speaking circuit for over 15 years and found these important tips to help you find a winning speaker for your event:

  1. Years of experience as a speaker no less than 3 to 5 years for the real thing.
  2. International experience this is rare and is a high credibility marker.
  3. Range of experience look for a good mix of corporate, community and other types of audiences, not just 1 type of audience.
  4. Size of audiences if a speaker can move a large audience 500+ they will be good with small and large. Check – if they only have experience with small groups, be more cautious.
  5. Social Upliftment  if a speaker has social development or charity speaking experience you know you have someone who cares about empowering people.
  6. Willing to take a brief ask if the speaker is willing to take a full brief about the audience and the objectives. 
  7. Reliablity  believe it or not, some professionals don’t show up for their bookings and don’t care. Look closely at the resume and ask if they have ever not showed up for a booked talk.  
  8. Humour & Heart experience proves that humour and heartfelt inspiration are the most effective motivational talks, so look for that winning combination.
  9. Good references it goes without saying that a speaker should be able to give you a list of testimonials with people’s names and company names.
  10. Showreel and photos ask for a showreel (clips of talks) or photos so that you can get a clearer idea of the speaker in action.
  11. Go direct bureaus perform a valuable function, but very few speakers have exclusivity agreements, so it is often possible to book with a speaker directly.