3 traits of a great corporate event keynote speaker

Picture this: Your keynote speaker has just taken the stage. The audience is transfixed, awaiting something truly special. The speaker enters the stage and kicks things off with an engaging introduction.

After a warm-up story from their childhood to get the crowd laughing, they turn on a heel and say something that makes the audience's hair stand on end. They can sense the speaker is on the cusp of breaking into the meat of their presentation, delivering the takeaways that they came to hear. The speaker begins to talk about their youth and the lessons they've learned since. 

Then, the presentation ends abruptly.

No meaningful message, no relevant theme for your audience. A cut and paste speech that could have applied to any industry. Your delegates seem mildly impressed, but they haven't really learned anything. 

You're left wondering what went wrong. What your keynote speaker was saying didn't seem to be in line with the goals you set for the event. They were a great presenter, but something about their talk made you feel like something was missing. 

So, what exactly makes a good corporate event keynote speaker? The cievents team works closely with speakers to help them deliver a message that's aligned with your event goals. Here are our expert tips on what to look for in a business event keynote speaker.

1. They need to align their subject matter with the goals of your event

So many corporate event speakers follow the same pattern. They start with an anecdote, then launch into a presentation that could be given at any event or occasion.

The best speakers out there aren't just great at delivering presentations; they're experts at thinking outside the box and aligning the subject matter with the objectives and theme of the event. Whether it's using an innovative tool to lend a new level of excitement to their talk, or getting your audience involved in new ways through interactive sessions using the latest tech, you need to look for a person who's on another level to all the others out there, and who'll use exciting tools to convey a message that resonates with your audience and ties their presentation in with your overarching goals.

A business event guest speaker needs to have something unique that your audience won't have encountered elsewhere.

Your keynote speaker needs to have something that your attendees haven't seen or heard elsewhere.

2. They need to have a killer story to tell

Storytelling is an incredibly powerful tool. A good story is one that people can relate to; one that resonates with them at a deeply personal level. And for a business event in particular, a good story is one that is in line with the overarching story - the messaging you want to convey through the entire event. It's not enough for your speaker to be inspiring - they also need to craft their story around the strategic objectives of your event.

Let's take a look at a few examples of what might constitute good storytelling in a business meeting or event context:

  • A humorous story that cuts to the core of what life at your company is all about. 
  • A deeply moving, personal anecdote that reinforces your brand's core values.
  • Putting themselves in the shoes of your delegates. An "I was once where you are, and this is how I got to where I am now" tale is one that will truly resonate, because your audience will be able to see themselves in the speaker.

A good corporate event guest speaker will take you to other places by telling incredible stories.

The best corporate event keynote speakers are the ones that can transport you to another place with their storytelling ability.

3. They need to work with you

This is quite possibly the most important trait of all. Choosing an amazing speaker for a corporate event boils down to selecting a person who is adaptable, and open to direction and feedback.

Of course, you want to find someone who will offer a motivational and exciting presentation. But don't forget about the most important element of all: What is the goal of the session? How does it fit into the rest of your event? What sort of speaker will best help you achieve your event objectives?

Some speakers might want to do their own thing, or simply tweak a presentation they've given at a previous event. However, it's essential you find a person who's willing to work with your team to understand the aims of your event. Every aspect of your event - from pre-event marketing to the catering choices and production - needs to serve your overall goals.

If the messaging of your keynote speaker isn't in line with your overarching objectives, they're really just there for light entertainment, and the money you've spent on hiring them won't be worthwhile.

The best business event guest speakers collaborate with you to align their messaging with your strategic objectives.

A good corporate event keynote speaker should also be a good listener, and open to working closely with you on their messaging.

How a strategic events management agency can help you find a great corporate event speaker

A strategic events management agency takes the hard work out of sourcing a great corporate event speaker. The cievents team works closely with clients across many different industries with a range of event objectives, and are experts at finding speakers who'll not only deliver a performance that wows attendees but one that's aligned with the message you want to communicate.

So, picture this: Your keynote speaker has just taken the stage. Your audience is transfixed, awaiting something really special. The speaker enters the stage and kicks things off with a gripping introduction recounting a childhood anecdote that makes your attendees gasp in amazement.

Then, the presenter breaks the tension with a moment of humor, and your delegates are laughing so hard that they're crying. The meat of the message comes in, and no one moves, they're so focused on what the speaker is saying. There are key, relevant takeaways throughout every part of the speech. Your speaker touches on the core values of your organisation, linking their speech to what's taking place right here, right now. It's obvious that this presentation isn't just a generic talk they've given at hundreds of other corporate events; this one's just for you. 

And - all of a sudden - it's over, and you wish there was more. Your delegates are on their feet, delivering thunderous applause. 

When deciding upon a corporate event guest speaker, you need to make sure they'll wow your attendees.

The right corporate event keynote speaker should leave your delegates delighted.

You're not left wondering whether your speaker delivered the right message, because your event management agency worked with them intensively in the lead-up to the event, and you saw a preview of their performance earlier in the week, so you knew exactly what was coming.

For expert guidance in selecting a keynote speaker for your next corporate event, and ensuring you're on the same page, reach out to the cievents team.

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