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How to Choose Your Keynote Speaker

By Staff Report June 20, 2014 Trade Show Tips

Much like the headliner at a major music festival, the keynote speaker at a trade show can be a painstaking choice that may influence many attendees and exhibitors when making the final decision on whether to make the trip or not. When narrowing down the list of qualified applicants to dazzle an exhibition, here are some standard practices a trade show manager should abide by.

Janette Racicot of Racicot and Associates reminded those booking that it's not just the credentials of a speaker you're looking for - it's their raw appeal and charisma that will make them memorable for all in attendance. Managers should make sure to meet with any potential keynote speaker prior to confirming their involvement with the trade show, and ensure that the keynote given will inspire lead generation and a positive outlook for the remainder of the exhibition.

"The reason is because something important happens when you gather people together," Racicot explained. "You have a message to deliver and goals to reach that can only be done by people influencing other people."

She divided types of keynote speakers into a number of categories including gurus, generalists, freebies, corporate executives and advocates. Depending on what is on a manager's event checklist that year, a different type of speaker may make sense for the state of the industry or to set a tone for other events that will occur throughout the exhibition.

Eventvilla reminded those selecting a speaker to do a thorough background check to avoid any surprises. It may behoove you to ask a candidate for a sample speech and do some research on their reputation and level of experience to ensure that other shows haven't had bad run-ins with an individual in the past. Above all, trust your judgment and know your brand - a keynote speaker sets the tone for a trade show, and the power is in your hands!

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