The Ultimate Guide for Choosing Incredible Guest Speakers for All Your Events

One of the most valuable assets in an event planner’s toolbox are the guest speakers. From celebrity appearances to keynote business speakers, how and who you choose to bring to your events will directly affect attendance. Choose incredible speakers with high-profile visibility and star power, the more guests your event will have. But how do today’s event professionals seek out the best-fit speakers for their various events? Today, we’re showing you everything you need to know about booking big-stage talent for big event results.

Every New York Event Is Unique

Because every NYC event you curate is uniquely different, so should your approach to securing speakers. Recognize which types of events are better suited for speaking engagements, like corporate meetings, company conferences, team-building events, or product launches. And create a process you can follow that includes a checklist and roadmap for discussing guest speaker options with those unique event clients.

Consider Your Guests’ Preferences

In addition to what your event client prefers, consider your event audience. You’ll want to book keynote speakers or guests who have something of value to offer to a majority of your attendees. There’s always someone new and interesting emerging as an influential voice. Make sure you choose the right voice to cater to your audience.

Here are a few methods for researching your event audience and discovering high-value insights to help inform how you choose guest speakers:

  • Identify the age, gender, location, and profession of your target audience.
  • Conduct surveys or gather feedback from previous events to understand what types of speakers or topics your audience enjoyed the most.
  • Analyze your audience’s social media profiles and interactions. Look for common hashtags, groups, or influencers they follow to gain insights into their preferences.
  • Create detailed audience personas that include their goals, pain points, and preferences.
  • Understand your audience’s values, beliefs, and motivations to select speakers who align with their mindset.

Consider the Corporate Event Themes and Goals

Your NYC events have core objectives and goals that guide every event planning decision. Use those goals to help narrow the types of keynote-speaking guests to invite. For example, if you’re curating a technology conference, you’ll want to bring in guests with technology backgrounds. If your event is primarily a wellness retreat, be sure to bring in top leaders in the wellness space. And if you’re entertaining an audience of recent college graduates, you’ll want to bring in someone with a current similar following. The guest speakers you choose should always contribute to and complement the overarching event themes and objectives to elevate the guest experiences in a real way.

How to Research Guest Speaker Options

Don’t just book a big-name talent without doing a little homework first. Researching your guest speaker options is simplified when you follow these proven strategies for booking success.

  • Perouse online platforms to see who’s big right NOW: TED Talks, YouTube influencers, and industry experts
  • Get recommendations from other event planners: Ask for speakers they’ve had success with for their events.
  • Speaker bureaus are helpful: These organizations specialize in matching speakers with event pros.
  • Research on social media: Narrow your choices and research their interactions on social media to see how they engage and review past events they post.
  • Use AI: Get inspired by using AI tools and ask, “List keynote speakers for a sustainability event” for potential speakers.

Event Budget Insights

Consider your client’s event budget when booking keynote speakers. Save a little when you:

  • Discuss fees ahead of time.
  • Hire local speakers and guests.
  • Book early for discounts.

Keynote Speaker Problems, Solved

Not every guest speaker experience will be flawless. There are sometimes delays and hiccups to the itinerary. As a seasoned event professional, you’ll want to prepare ahead of time to tackle any guest appearances or speaker issues. 

  • Have backup speakers or alternative presentations ready.
  • Book appropriate IT or technical support assistance.
  • Share communication processes and channels with everyone.
  • Prepare audience Q&A should speakers run short.

Learn Emerging Event Planning Trends at The Expo

Get all the insights you need about booking incredible guest speakers for your events and more when you learn from the industry’s best at The Event Planner Expo! Get in the room with top pros. And speaking of keynote speakers, wait until you see who’s on the stage this October! Get on the waitlist NOW, and don’t miss a single announcement!


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