Choosing the right speakers can make or break a conference’s success. The speakers set the tone, share valuable insights, and create an experience that engages and resonates with attendees. With so much riding on this decision, companies invest considerable time and effort into their speaker selection process. Here’s a look at some of the key considerations and methods organizations use to vet and choose speakers for their conferences.

Establish Clear Objectives and Desired Outcomes
Before companies even begin their speaker search, they define the objectives for their event and what they hope speakers will help accomplish. Common goals may include educating audiences on new trends, providing professional development, sharing big ideas to inspire innovation, or offering motivational messages. Having these desired outcomes clarified focuses the search on speakers whose expertise and style aligns well.

Leverage Speaker Bureaus and References
Many companies start by tapping into speaker bureaus and agencies that represent professional speakers. These firms have expansive rosters of speakers across a multitude of topics that clients can search, review video samples of presentations, and get transparent pricing information. Companies also seek referrals and references from industry peers who have engaged certain speakers previously. This provides insights into speakers’ strengths, audience rapport, logistical demands, and overall event impact.

Evaluate Expertise and Style Through Research
For speakers under serious consideration, companies conduct extensive research into their credentials, published works, client testimonials, and any media coverage or online presence. They aim to validate speakers’ true mastery of the subjects they’ll present. Just as importantly, they review video footage to evaluate speaking style, stage presence, and ability to captivate audiences. A speaker’s delivery skills can make or break their effectiveness at the live event.

Assess Audience Alignment and Relevance
The ultimate measuring stick companies use is whether a potential speaker presents the right fit for the makeup of their conference audiences. They carefully consider what knowledge and takeaways would be most valuable, how speakers’ areas of focus map to their industry’s hot topics, and if speakers’ communication styles would resonate based on factors like audiences’ professional level and demographics.

Collaborate With Speaker Selection Teams
At many larger organizations, a cross-functional conference committee or leadership team is involved in vetting and selecting speakers. This provides diverse perspectives and shared stakeholder input into which speakers can deliver the most worthwhile experience. These teams watch speaker videos together, discuss audience feedback from previous events, assess how well speakers address the conference themes, and secure consensus around final decisions.

Companies invest such rigor into their conference speaker selection because they know the right speakers are critical for creating an engaging, high-impact event. Taking a thorough, strategic approach pays dividends in attracting attendees and delivering a memorable experience.