How to Choose a Keynote Speaker

We believe there is a vast difference between good keynote speakers vs. great keynote speakers.  This article is going to dive deep into everything you want to know about keynote speakers and motivational speakers, and how to choose the best ones for your event.

Good Keynote Speakers

Good keynote speakers—keynote or otherwise—are thoughtful and passionate. There are many of them.

Great Keynote Speakers

Great keynote speakers are thoughtful, passionate and innovative. They help you see paths you didn’t know were there. And, they leave your head spinning wanting more.

So, what makes a good keynote speaker?

I recently shared the digital stage with Tony Robbins, and other great motivators/innovators at Jon Gordon’s Power of Positive Summit. All of Jon’s keynote speakers were able to crystallize their messages into simple actions the audience could, 1) understand, and 2) start that very day.

Bingo! Learn more about booking great speakers here.

Event Planner’s Guide to Booking a Keynote Speaker

We speak to many corporate event planners, office managers, HR assistants, executive assistants on elements they should consider when figuring out how to choose a keynote speaker.

This article was written to give you tips to make your decision process to hire a keynote speaker easier.

Here’s what we’re going to cover:

    1. Keynote Speaker Definition
    2. What Makes a Good Keynote Speaker?
    3. How Do I Hire a Keynote Speaker: 10 Critical Tips?
    4. Four Common Mistakes When You Hire a Keynote Speaker.
    5. What Does a Keynote Speaker Cost?
    6. Finding a Keynote Speaker for a Corporate event
    7. Finding a Keynote Speaker on Performance
    8. Finding a Keynote Speaker on Sales
    9. Five Most Important Questions in a Proposal to Hire a Top Keynote Speaker
    10. Top Keynote Speaking Topics in 2020
    11. Best Keynote Speaker 2020

Let’s dive in!

Keynote Speaker Definition

Keynote speaker is an individual who speaks to a central audience of any size with a predetermined theme.  A keynote speaker is someone who is very confident at public speaking, comfortable on a stage and can authentically connect with their audience.

Let’s further define keynote speaker.

Your keynote speaker needs to have the proven track record to set the tone for your event.  This is extremely important.

Your speaker’s goal is to bring your event’s theme to a crescendo, and then provide insight, inspiration and innovation for the audience to walk away to start driving results and impacting change immediately!

In short: so goes the keynote speech, so goes the event.

What Makes a Good Keynote Speaker?

While evaluating the perfect keynote speaker is a multi-faceted decision, I think the core decision can be made by your answers to the following questions:

Does the keynote speaker have the background and/or experience my audience will embrace?

  • Do/did they work in your industry (or did they work in an industry that the experience is transferable to yours)?
  • Did they invent/create something unique?
  • Are they well known?

Can the keynote speaker connect with the needs of my audience?

  • Is their story compelling and does it resonate?
  • Does their style fit (or, if you’re feeling adventuresome, does it not fit)?
  • Do you like them?
  • Will your audience like them?
  • Do they have real life experience that makes them qualified to connect to your audience?

Does the speaker have a point of view that could knock your event theme out of the park?

  • Can they drive home your theme through their message?
  • Do they believe in what you’re trying to do?
  • Are they passionate about their beliefs?
  • Do they have practical real life examples to back up their message?

If your answer to all of these is “yes”, you’re 80% of the way toward a good decision.

Book a Keynote Speaker

Everyone has a list of what makes a good keynote speaker. Me included (we’ll get to that a little later).

If you’ve searched this topic on the internet you see a lot of the same advice: Find a motivated person with experience in your field. And, don’t forget they need to be entertaining, passionate and friendly.

However, before you can properly evaluate a speaker’s capabilities, the foundation for a what makes a good top keynote speaker starts with understanding the significant life experience(s) that got them started. Rather than ask them about their passion, let them describe it to you.

Find out what is truly under their hood.

Every Corporate Keynote Speaker has “The Moment” that Stoked Their Personal Fire.

For me, the significant life experience came at a young age, watching my mother bravely fight a terminal disease.

Even when she was at home in her last days under 24-hour care, she found the energy most evenings to join the family for dinner. And, no matter how she felt, she would pepper my brother and I with questions about our day.

It was always about us; never about her.

One of my long-time clients and now good friend and colleague, NFL hall of famer Aeneas Williams, summed it up: “Your mother passed on her strength for you and your brother to carry on the story of her legacy.”

This was the fire that stoked me to leave a highly-successful career in financial services to start a business focused on motivating and inspiring people to do more than they think they can.

I was among the top 2% performing financial advisors in the world and I was making the decision to leave it all behind!

Another example is from Dylan Slattery, a 2 time cancer survivor that took his experience of getting diagnosed with stage 4 cancer to teaching others how to identify their “stage 4” moment and how to respond.

Whether it’s a story of an underdog in the NFL, a CEO that recovered a fortune 500 company, or an individual with a personal story that had an immense impact on their life, stories of critical moments or periods of life resonate with an audience.

Motivational Speaker vs. Keynote Speaker

People commonly ask what the difference is  between motivational speakers and keynote speakers.  While it can seem like there is a big difference, it’s all about the context in which they are hired.

A keynote speaker is the top speaker for an event, the guy or gal that gets the main stage and most of the publicity.  That keynote speaker could have a career as a motivational speaker which is why they may have been hired for a specific event.

The same holds true for other categories.  For example, a sales conference is looking for a keynote speaker with experience in diversity and inclusion.  Someone might be able to categorize that speaker as a business relationship speaker or a diversity and inclusion speaker, but they are being hired to be a keynote speaker for the upcoming event.

Top Keynote Speaking Topics in 2020

Whether you are choosing a business speaker, celebrity speaker, corporate speaker, or motivational speaker, there are common topics that continue to make our top list each year.

  1. Mental Toughness
  2. Women in Business
  3. Personal accountability
  4. Organizational change
  5. Sales
  6. Leadership development
  7. Diversity and Inclusion
  8. Customer experience
  9. Politics
  10. Customer service
  11. Healthcare
  12. Technology Trends
  13. Financial services
  14. Wellness
  15. Sports
  16. Artificial intelligence
  17. Culture
  18. Mental Illness

Topics are endless, but always remember to dive deep into the theme of your event in order to pick the right speaker for your audience.

How to Hire a Keynote Speaker

The process to hire a keynote speaker is kind of like building a house: there are hard and soft issues to consider.

Nailing the hard and soft issues (pun intended) will put you, as the event planner, in a great position to win.

Let’s deal with the hard issues first.

Five “Hard” Issues That Will Impact How to Hire a Keynote Speaker.

The hard issues center on the event:

1) Event Date and Location

These will automatically reduce your pool of speaker candidates. Hopefully, your event is far enough in the future (six months or more), that your ultimate candidate pool will be available.

2) Purpose of Event and Theme

This sounds silly, but don’t let the keynote speaker determine the event’s purpose. I know, who would do something so silly? Answer: far more than you might think. Whether you want to motivate/inspire your sales force, or communicate big corporate changes to your employees, developing a crystal-clear purpose is vital before you begin the process to hire a keynote speaker.  And, don’t forget most keynote speakers will have a planning call with you before the event to help you think through the process to ensure the message is consistently communicated.

3) Expected Attendance

You should hire the best speaker to deliver your message, but the skills to connect with a room of 25 people versus an auditorium of 2,500 are very different. The person who likes the up-close-and-personal event may not be as effective in a big space, and vice versa.  Always ask your speaker candidate about the size of audience they have worked with in the past, and, if they have a preference.

4) Goals for the Keynote Speaker

What actions do you want to occur based on your speaker’s presentation?

  1. Increase sales or sales team morale?
  2. Generate donations?
  3. Change behavior?
  4. Make them laugh?
  5. Create a path to success?

Often, especially with well-known speakers, clients will defer to the speaker rather than be specific about what they want.

Big mistake.

5) Speaker Budget: What Does a Keynote Speaker Cost?

Don’t get caught in extremes. One extreme, which happens ALL the time, is the speaker’s budget being the last thing the client considers. By that point your budget is likely down to the nubs, yet your appetite for a speaker remains high. On the flip side, putting all your eggs into the speaker’s basket at the expense of other components of the event is risky as well.  Take some time to think through and realize that there are many great speakers out there and taking a little extra planning time isn’t going to hurt your event.

Five “Soft” Issues That Could Turn Your Event from Good to Great.

This is the fun stuff… where you get to show the boss how you think (apologies if you are the boss).

What are “soft” issues? They’re about feel and, typically, there is no right or wrong answer. And, make no mistake, they are the issues that can make for very long event status meetings.

The soft issues when hiring a speaker center on the actual speaker:

1) Speaker’s Willingness to Meet / Talk in Advance

All the video and testimonials on the keynote speaker’s website should not be a surrogate for a face-to-face meeting. Think of it this way: if the speaker is hard to reach, thus hard to schedule, how could that impact how they might present themselves to your audience. Arrogant? Disorganized? Make it a priority to see (if possible) or talk to them on a planning call.

2) Does the Keynote Speaker Have Knowledge About Your Business?

The importance of this is directly related to the reason for the event and the goals you have for the speaker. You could hire a keynote speaker who is considered an expert in your business. Conversely, you could hire a speaker from an unrelated industry that has a complimentary skillset and experience to convey a relevant message to your audience.  This happens ALL the time!

My professional background started in financial services, but what I learned from not only serving clients and their money, but also the activity required to excel at the highest level in a sales organization is transferable to so many other non-financial services industries.

The key: your speaker should bring experience that directly relates to what you’re trying to accomplish, whether the experience comes from your specific industry or not.

Fast forward to today, I’m working with some of the biggest brands in the world such as Microsoft, Quicken Loans, the US Military, and some of the best brands in sports including Alabama Football, NFL Hall of Famers, World Champion athletes, and gold medalist.  My success in a previous life was based around a methodology that is transferable to other industries.

3) Audience Wants / Needs

In the previous section you should have defined the purpose of the event. Don’t be fooled into thinking “your” purpose and what your audience wants/needs are aligned. Ideally, you should send a survey before the event. If you don’t have time, conduct a few focus groups. The nuances you will likely learn could be critical in how well your keynote speaker is received.

4) Online Presence

Ten years ago, this wouldn’t have been as important in decision to hire a keynote speaker. Today, however, how a keynote speaker—or, any business/business person for that matter—presents themselves online should be a component of your decision. Unless you’re specifically looking for someone who isn’t a savvy online contributor, here are a few things to consider:

  1. Do they blog and, if so, how would you rate the quality of their content?
  2. Is their website optimized for mobile (e.g. phones, tablets, etc.)?
  3. What is their presence on social media (e.g. how do they comport themselves when interacting online with the public)?

5) What do you want the audience to think when they leave?

If your goal is to raise money, you want them thinking where they left their checkbook. If you want to motivate employees, they should walk away thinking: “That was cool, and I’m super excited they invited me. I can see where some of what he/she said could help me improve.”

Bingo. Put yourself in the minds of your audience so the speaker has the best chance of hitting a home run FOR YOU!

All of this is a lot to consider, and it’s a lot of work. But, it can be incredibly satisfying when it all clicks.

I love a quote I ran across recently from Judy Urquhart, a well-known motivational speaker who has an awesome ability to make people laugh and boil things down to their most basic element:

“Some motivational speakers make it sound like they are the best thing that could happen to you. Let’s face it, it’s only a speech. They are not curing world hunger or ending war and poverty. It is a speech.”
— Jody Urquhart

Hire Keynote Speaker

Five Characteristics to Consider When Learning How to Hire a Top Keynote Speaker

Everyone has a list of what’s important when trying to hire a keynote speaker. I’ve seen some lists with up to 20 factors.

That’s way over-cooked.

There are five attributes that define a top keynote speaker:

  1. Team player. The speaker wants what you want. While they have a general message, they know will resonate in many different situations, they also know that message must be delivered in the context of your audience.
  2. Keynote Speaker Credibility. They speak from experience; ideally, very compelling experience. They know what it’s like to be on their back and, more importantly, they know what it’s like to get up and fight the good fight. For example, Bill Gates may be on the back side of his career, but he’s a great example for credibility.
  3. Provocative. They are not afraid to call out the elephant in the room. In fact, they thrive on straddling the line between simultaneously putting an arm around their audience and kicking it in the butt. The good ones will challenge you in your very first conversation… don’t let that scare you off.
  4. Approachable. They love people. More importantly, they love helping people. They should be asking you as many questions as you ask them. If they aren’t interested enough to ask good questions, they probably aren’t a good fit for you.
  5. Inspiring. Something or someone inspired them along the way, and it’s critical you believe they can do the same for your event. To determine this will take more than just watching videos.

The best way to evaluate a top keynote speaker is to meet them face to face. It only takes a day of your time to jump on a plane and go meet the speaker at one of their events.

There is no substitute for face to face!

Four Mistakes You Can Make Hiring a Top Keynote Speaker.

What could go wrong in the process to hire a keynote speaker?

About a thousand things.

The mistakes most clients make are acts of omission, not commission. That said, a string of bad decisions can only end with you looking bad and your boss looking worse. Better you prepare now, rather than having to manufacture excuses when it’s too late.

The following factors are what I believe bring down great speaking events:

Mistake #1: Not thinking strategically.

You would be shocked how many keynote speakers are determined/hired before an event is fully planned.

Doing this is the ultimate example of the tail wagging the dog.

Your corporate keynote speaker or motivational speaker should reflect the goals of your event and your organization, not the other way around. I love Chris Rock, but would he be a good match for the National Funeral Directors Association meeting? 🙂

Mistake #2: Not asking enough questions.

It’s amazing how often clients ignore this. The first question I would ask me as a corporate keynote speaker would be: “Define What Makes a Good Keynote Speaker?”

Most event planners spend less time working on great questions than they do ordering coffee at Starbuck’s.

Here are a few examples (just to get your juices flowing):

  • What makes a good keynote speaker?
  • Describe when you turned down an event because it wasn’t a good fit for you.
  • Describe how you adjusted on the fly during a keynote speech when you realized you had lost your audience.
  • Describe the biggest mistake you’ve made at an event, and how you handled it
  • Describe your ideal event to speak?
  • Describe your favorite client and what makes them that? Least favorite client?

Mistake #3:Penny wise, pound foolish

My antennae go up when budget is the first subject I discuss with a potential client.

When that happens, most clients have put themselves in a budget bind by leaving speaker’s fees as one of the last budget items. Or, they are just foolish in thinking they can save their way to a great event.

You get what you pay for.  However, some of the best speakers I have heard in my life have been speakers that were hired for less than $5,000.

Mistake #4: Talking to your keynote speaker for the first time the day of the event.

When you get down to your final two or three candidates you should always do what you can to see them live. Phone, email and texting are convenient for project management, but making a thoughtful decision on who to hire for your event can only be complete when you see them live.

Certainly it’s not always possible, but you should always try to make it happen when the opportunity presents itself.

What Does a Keynote Speaker Cost?

Like pricing for any product, whether it’s green beans or private jets, the answer to the question—what does a keynote speaker cost?—has several components.

The decision process on how to hire a keynote speaker—and subsequent keynote speaker costs—for different types of speakers is pretty simple.

Following are common types of keynote speakers you can consider and some ballpark pricing you should be aware of (these are not mutually exclusive):

Star / Community Influencer Keynote Speaker

$7,500 to $1,000,000

There are all kinds of stars.

  • Movie stars
  • Sports stars
  • Political stars
  • Business stars
  • and on and on…

Let’s say you’re enamored with the young CEO in the exploding world of cyber currency. His goal is getting awareness for his company; your goal is connecting with your audience. His or her experience in financial services—innovative financial services—would be useful across many industries. And, you can probably get them for $7,500 to $10,000.

Conversely, you might want to make a statement to your audience, so you chase big, well-known stars that are known keynote speakers.

Whether it’s Tom Hanks, Tom Brady, or Tony Robins, these stars have regular day jobs and you’re going to pay a higher price to get them (think six figures). But, hey, it may be the best six figures you’ll ever spend if they support your event goals and the needs of your audience.

The higher profile star hired as keynote speaker, the more you’ll pay.

Certainly don’t be surprised to get quoted speaking fees from $100,000 to over a million dollars.

Category Expert Keynote Speaker

$5,000 to $100,000

There are two kinds of expert speakers: those related to your business and those not related.

Depending on the speaker’s star power, you can find qualified people starting in the $5,000 all the way up to $100,000 range and, of course, beyond.

Here are some category expert keynote speaker examples.

  • keynote speaker on change:  This might be an ex CEO that had a strong history in changing the course of a business.  Or, it could be someone that successfully changed the culture of a business which had a direct impact in revenue.
  • keynote speaker on sales:  You could expect to get someone with a unique point of view regarding sales psychology or someone that has a proven track record in sales.  In a perfect world, you’ll want to consider a speaker who has a proven track record of sales performance to have a better chance at connecting to the needs of your audience.
  • Keynote speaker on teamwork: Tons of examples here, but common examples are ex-navy seals and professional athletes.
  • Corporate keynote speaker: C level executives pretty well dominate this category.  Whether it’s an existing CEO like Elon Musk or a previous CEO that ran a great business and had a financially attractive exit through mergers and acquisitions.  Either way, corporate speakers are often highly sought after assuming they fit into your budget. One of the most sought after speaking topics for corporate events right now is Diversity and Inclusion.

Entertainer Keynote Speaker

Comedians, for example. There are likely local comedians you can get for next to nothing.

However, if you think you need Jerry Seinfeld or Ellen DeGeneres to get your point across, think six figures or go back to the section about hiring a star keynote speaker.

But, local and regional entertainers who aren’t stars or experts can be great choices when looking for cheap keynote speakers or keynote speakers under $5,000.

As you can see, determining what a keynote speaker costs has several twists and turns.

Keynote Speakers Under $5,000

We have found many organizations looking for keynote speakers under $5,000.  We should note that just because a speaker will work for less than $5,000 doesn’t reduce the quality of the speech your audience will receive.

Many speakers start their careers speaking for free and over time they are able to demand a higher price tag.

Some of the best speakers I have heard were hired for under $5,000.  Check out our speakers lineup to find one for your event for under $5,000. Find a keynote speaker under $5,000

What other costs should I expect?

Aside from the standard speaking fees that your speaker charges, you should expect to cover the following expenses.  Or, expect to have a discussion with your speaker about these expenses.

  1. Airfare or Mileage
  2. Meals
  3. Contingency fee (flight cancellations, scheduling conflicts, etc)

How does payment work when hiring a keynote speaker?

Typically you can expect to pay an upfront down payment and complete your final payment a week or so ahead of your event.

This isn’t always true as some speakers will need a heavier down payment to offset the risk of your event cancelling.  That type of scenario typically comes into play when you’re dealing with a top keynote speaker who has an established brand and is highly sought after.

The good news is that any speaker we have ever worked with has always been extremely flexible when negotiating opportunities, so certainly don’t let a down payment impact your decision on hiring the best keynote speaker for your event.

How to Hire a Keynote Speaker for a Corporate, Business, or Sales Conference.

Finding a corporate keynote speaker isn’t hard. Finding the one corporate keynote speaker for your event is another story.

  1. Conduct a survey with your potential audience. A corporate event is no different than if you were introducing a new product. You wouldn’t go to market with a new product and have no input from the customer, so why would you put on an important business event without input from your potential audience? Ideally, you do this at least nine months in advance so you have ample options on potential corporate keynote speakers.
  2. Go see your top candidates. There is no replacement for seeing keynote speakers up-close-and-personal. For your finalists, you should go see them in action. Your process likely already includes evaluation of their video and at least one interview, so top it off with seeing them under the lights. See how they interact with the crowd and vice versa. Oh, one last thing: if they don’t have video it should be a “no-go”.
  3. Evaluate their engagement in the proposal process. Are they excited about the opportunity? How involved are they in the proposal process? Are they accessible… can you reach them easily for an interview? How many questions do they ask?
  4. Get examples of how they have tailored their standard presentation to specific industries. This will also be a great way to tell how engaged they are in what the client (you) is trying to accomplish.
  5. You should drive the focus of the content message. I know, you’re hiring a corporate keynote speaker for THEIR content, but you must give them direction on both the opportunities and the potential pitfalls of their message. In the end, it might not ultimately have impact on what they present, but it will force them to pay attention.
  6. Don’t be imprisoned by your industry. Your boss wants a speaker who is relevant to your industry, but that doesn’t mean he/she has to be FROM your industry. Be open to creative alternatives. For speakers you consider outside of your industry, ask them to tell you how they will adapt their message to your industry.

Finding the Right Keynote Speaker on Performance.

My career as a keynote speaker on performance and sales, and a performance coach was born well before I moved into the workforce. At a young age I watched my mother valiantly battle a terminal disease. We lost her at a young age, but she instilled in me and my brother the drive to never give up.

High performance is certainly more than simply not giving up, because you can be incredibly persistent and not be a high performer. However, learning how to channel that core value of persistence is critical to achieving high performance.

My keynote speeches that focus on high performance are based on more than 10 years’ experience with pro and college athletes as well as world-class sales people.

Keynote Speaking and Personal Coaching Categories Include Sports and Business.

For me, the foundation of high performance is mental toughness.

Mental Toughness is a subject I’ve spoken on for more than 15 years; everything from large audiences in arenas, tens of thousands online, and to small groups of high school athletes.

I had the honor to participate in Jon Gordon’s Power of Positive Summit, a digital experience that featured Clemson football coach Dabo Sweeney, Tony Robins, Andy Andrews, Lewis Howes, Tamika Catchings, Michael Hyatt, and many other great speakers.

My current coaching clients include:

  • Hall of Fame NFL players, All-Pros & Super Bowl Champions
  • National Championship NCAA Football Programs
  • Division 1 NCAA Basketball Programs
  • UFC World Champions
  • Fortune 500 CEOs
  • Top 1% Financial Advisors in the World

Keynote Speaker on Sales

To say I love sales would be an understatement.

It’s what gave me the opportunity to grow my career and impact thousands of lives as one of the top keynote speakers in the country. And, it doesn’t happen very often that you can hire a speaker that not only provides value to your audience but has the proven track record to back up every spoken word.

I love being invited to be a keynote speaker on sales. But, what I think I really love about sales is providing value that makes a difference for clients.

I spent a decade in financial services—insurance primarily—working my way through the Million Dollar Roundtable to consistently being one of the top 1% highest producing financial advisors in the world.

But, it wasn’t enough.

I believed there was a bigger calling and I found it almost a decade ago: personal performance coaching and keynote speaking. It only makes sense financial services would be one of my core strengths as it’s an area I have literally been through at every step from failure to wild success.

Life insurance not only put me through college, it propelled my professional career to the point I was performing in the top 1% of all financial advisors in the world. Along the way I began mentoring many of the advisors in my office and it rapidly expanded to a point I found myself flying all over the United States speaking and coaching for financial services companies.

Top Keynote Speakers on Sales

Below are some of the top keynote speakers on sales in the BNC Speakers family.

Mental Toughness the Foundation for Sales.

Today, as a keynote speaker on sales, I help and speak to sales teams and individuals to understand how to overcome what seem to be insurmountable challenges. I teach them how to BELIEVE in themselves; teach being the operate word. They won’t overcome the challenges unless they BELIEVE they can.

Nowhere is belief more on stage than sports. Being mentally tough isn’t necessarily related to physical abilities. Your success—in sports, sales or any endeavor—centers on changing the way YOU think to become the person you are destined to be.

This is exactly why sports motivational speakers are commonly brought in as speakers for sales organizations.

What has been a game-changer for me and my clients is the YOUR Mental Toughness Playbook and our Mental Toughness Academy. These are the foundation assets I use to drive sales effectiveness in teams and individuals.

A huge challenge for most people in sales is getting over what has already happened. I love the phrase coaches use for athletes who can almost instantly move on from a bad play. Coaches call it “short-term memory.” It’s one of the single biggest reasons people fail in sales, and it’s a critical part to building mental toughness.

Best Places for Keynote Speakers

You can clearly find great keynote speakers all over the world and keynote speaker costs will vary based on that decision.  But, there are some locations that it may be easier than others.

Motivational Speakers in Las Vegas

Finding a keynote speaker in Las Vegas is about as common as finding a corner slot machine.  Vegas is a big place and some of the top keynote speakers in the world either call it their second home or frequently visit due to the high demand of event space.

And, flights to Vegas as often and affordable in many cases, so it makes it an ideal location to have an event and hire a local keynote speaker or have one fly in for your event.

We have worked with some amazing keynote and motivational speakers in Las Vegas…

  • Ray Lewis
  • Ben Newman
  • Jerry Rice
  • Jordan Montgomery
  • Aeneas Williams
  • Jon Gordon
  • Jason Selk
  • Alan Stein Jr.
  • And the list goes on….

Find a keynote speaker in Las Vegas can be as simple or as hard as you want to make it.  Our suggestion would be to give us a call or send us an email and we can help you get everything lined up for your event.

You can find great keynote and motivational speakers all over the place.

  • Atlanta
  • Dallas
  • Chicago
  • Charlotte
  • Raleigh
  • New York
  • San Francisco
  • Miami
  • Los Angeles
  • San Diego
  • Silicon Valley
  • St. Louis
  • Kansas City

Another really interesting thing about finding keynote speakers is that they are often in small rural towns.

In these instances, you can expect for the travel expense to be different when you’re reviewing keynote speaker proposals.  If someone doesn’t have great access to a major airport, it’s certainly going to increase the expense to bring them into your event.

Certainly don’t let geography keep you from hiring the best speaker, but keep it in mind when your comparing your proposals.

Best Keynote Speaker 2020

Clearly we’re biased regarding our amazing team of speakers.

Below is a list of the best keynote speakers for 2020.

  1. Ben Newman
  2. Drew Hanlen
  3. Jon Gordon
  4. Aeneas Williams
  5. Jordan Montgomery
  6. Daymond John
  7. Teri Griege
  8. Ray Lewis
  9. Vicki Hamilton
  10. Tyron Woodley
  11. Jerry Rice
  12. Liv Ryan
  13. Will Compton
  14. Alan Stein Jr.
  15. Jeremy Patty
  16. Michael Wellington
  17. David Gorsage
  18. Dan O’Brien
  19. Kaleb Thornhill
  20. Donovin Darius

Five Most Important Questions for Your Proposal to Hire a Top Keynote Speaker

To be honest, I haven’t written any requests for a proposal (RFP) to hire a keynote speaker.

HOWEVER, I have responded to piles and piles of RFPs over the last 15 years, and I have a strong sense of what clients should put in a proposal to hire a keynote speaker.

The overall success of your event will be directly correlated with how much elbow grease you put into vetting potential corporate keynote speakers. You need questions that force the speaker to think seriously about their accomplishments in the context of your goals.

If they can’t adequately answer these questions, they are probably not right for your event:

  1. Provide three examples of how your presentations on the event’s subject/theme have driven your audiences to act on your recommendations/concepts. Require specificity… “an energized crowd” is not specific.
  2. Describe what the hour following a typical presentation is like. You need to understand how the speaker affects an audience. If people aren’t tackling them at the door, then it should raise questions from you.
  3. How many standing ovations have you had in the last 12 months and what were the subjects (please provide details on each subject)? I wouldn’t necessarily penalize a speaker if they haven’t had standing ovations, but it’s a way to quantify the speaker’s impact in the room.
  4. How many of your speeches in the last 12 months were generated from audience participants in other speeches, and what were the subjects? FWIW, all of my speaking engagements today come from referrals.
  5. How has audience feedback impacted your approach to keynote speeches? Will be curious how much the speaker listens and adapts to audience input.

If they nail these questions, you’re in great shape for the event!

Yes, I Would Like to Book a Keynote Speaker!

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