Top 5 questions to ask a Keynote speaker

Get these and other insights from Bruce Whitfield.

There are so many moving parts when it comes to organising an event, and getting all the elements just right will result in a truly impactful session for delegates. One of the most valuable elements is getting the right keynote speaker in place. This is someone who can extend the event theme while inspiring your attendees – but get it wrong and the whole event can be negatively impacted! To ensure you’re choosing the most suitable person as your keynote speaker, here are some questions to ask.

Questions to ask a Keynote speaker

1.     Does your message align with our theme?

Most speakers have certain topics or speaking points they centre their discussion on, and while many topics will work across the board, it’s important that the speaker adapts the conversation to your particular event. It’s quite surprising how many keynote speakers will go in having done zero research on your company or industry. That’s why you need to query what their message will be, and whether it aligns with your vision. You can have a quick pre-event discussion on the challenges and opportunities in the industry; what you’re looking to achieve with your event; as well as selecting the best topic from the speaker’s existing arsenal.

2.     Have you ever been a bad fit for an event?

Any truly experienced keynote speaker with a history of addressing large-scale events will, no doubt, recall a time when the audience wasn’t as responsive as it could’ve been. However, a great speaker will read the crowd and be able to adapt to this shift on their feet, using another approach or changing things up to get the desired result. It’s worth asking your keynote speaker whether this has ever been the case with them, and assessing how well they were able to adapt to the change.

3.     What is your previous experience?

You will get a much better idea of your keynote speaker when you find out their previous experience, where they’ve addressed crowds previously, whom they’ve spoken alongside, and what the reception has been to their talks. It’s generally better to get a speaker who has some level of experience speaking to delegates within your particular industry, and you can also chat with other clients of theirs to better gauge their impact.

4.     Do you offer post-talk resources?

A really impactful speaker will provide the audience with some after-event resources, which helps if they’re looking to learn more from the actual event. Some of the resource options include:

  • Books or e-books
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Audio or video download
  • White paper
  • An after-event Q&A session

5.     Will you assist in pre-event marketing?

If you’re looking to attract a large crowd to your event, you’re going to need to do quite a bit of pre-event marketing across various platforms. If you’ve secured a great keynote speaker, using them as a hook for delegates is a great idea. That’s why it’s worth asking if they will assist with any marketing for the event such as interviews, social media messaging, or articles as a way to get further reach. You can also ask if they have any existing resources to draw from such as:

  • Images or memes to share
  • Custom video clips
  • Press releases
  • Blog posts

Read More: Top Keynote Speaker Topics for 2023

If you’re looking for an event and keynote speaker that ticks all these boxes and more, then you should consider Bruce Whitfield, an experienced speaker with an impressive track record. He has delivered thought-provoking content to audiences across the globe, sharing platforms with the likes of Bill and Hillary Clinton, Nouriel Roubini, Charlize Theron, Lord Mervyn King, as well as hundreds of business and political luminaries. Drawing on his journalistic experience, Bruce is able to touch on the most hard-hitting topics, and work these into your event messaging.

Read More: How to choose the best keynote speaker for your event? 

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