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What Type of Speaker Does Your Conference Need?

One way to turn a good event into a great one is to have a speaker participate and share their know-how on various topics. The people in the back row will have just as fantastic an experience as those in the front row, so hiring a speaker will lead to a knock-on effect of benefits. You can rely on your in-house talent or invite an external speaker to ignite your conference. Still, an external speaker can add a bit of spice that will leave your audience talking for days. To host an engaging, memorable event that’s the talk of the town, get the right person. Your conference can feature speakers with different perspectives, experiences, or insights on the event’s theme or topic. 

Chances are that you’ve come across the terms “keynote speaker” and “guest speaker”. Even if the phrases are used interchangeably, there’s a significant difference between the two. You need to know the specific differences between a keynote speaker and a guest speaker so you can approach the opportunity accordingly and ensure the success of your event. Please do your due diligence accordingly and do your own research about them. 

The Difference Between a Keynote and A Guest Speaker

What Is a Keynote Speaker?

Numerous conferences feature a keynote speaker, which falls under the category of a guest speaker. Nevertheless, the keynote speaker is the headliner or the event star – they’re the most essential item on the program. There are events with multiple keynote speakers, but they’re a rarity. As the name clearly suggests, the keynote speaker sets the event’s central theme and tone, which can be achieved through motivational/inspirational elements, storytelling, and even theatrical performances. Hire a keynote speaker to hook your audience in so they won’t bail mentally or physically. A keynote speaker is an expert in their field, so they can deliver a compelling, insightful, and inspiring speech. 

The keynote speech takes place at the beginning of the conference, although there are exceptions to the rule, introducing the theme and setting the right tone to learn. The speaker may decide to deliver a state-of-the-industry speech to minimize confusion and misunderstandings. You can hire a speaker who specializes in motivating others or promoting mindfulness. You can book a female keynote speaker to ensure diversity and inclusion, demonstrating a sustained commitment to employee connection. Their stories and insights are the most powerful gifts they can give. It’s possible to follow a script, but most keynote speakers have their approach, especially if they’re dynamic and inspiring. 

What Is a Guest Speaker?

The guest speaker is invited to bring a fresh perspective to the discussion. It’s usually a person who doesn’t have any connection with the event but is critical to its success. A guest speaker may share knowledge, entertain the audience, or indicate support – in other words, they give a special address. You can hire a guest speaker to concentrate on a specific subtopic of the conference in detail, providing fodder for future conversations. The presenter will follow the keynote speech. If the keynote speaker is the star of the event, the guest speaker is the supporting cast, metaphorically speaking. 

A guest speaker provides specialized knowledge, so they’re an expert in their field and chosen for their ability to enlighten the audience. The success of the guest speaker depends on how relevant their message is to the conference and how well they can deliver the speech. By hearing from multiple people, attendees get a much better understanding of the topic, so the conference becomes fulfilling and educational. The intro and the speech can be less formal, especially if the event is held online, so things may be brief and to the point. The guest speech offers a break from the overarching theme so attendees can explore the possible subtopics and make connections between ideas. 

Selecting The Right Speaker

For your conference, it’s important to hire someone who is creative and engaging, helping the audience members connect with the event material. Even a small organization can attract a high-profile speaker with whom the audience is familiar. Their aura commands respect and promotes attentive listening. If you’re organizing a big conference, you’ll want to book a keynote speaker to educate and motivate the audience; they’ll benefit from the knowledge and expertise of a professional from another field. Another possibility would be to hire someone who has nothing to do with your industry but whose experience can add value to your event. 

No matter whether you hire a keynote or guest speaker, here are some points to consider when hiring one: 

  • Speaking ability. A speaker must be able to speak confidently and fluently, conveying information in a way that attendees can understand. When you think of the most renowned speakers today, most of them have strong speaking skills and something of value to talk about. The best conference speakers are people you’ve never heard of, whose value makes up for the glitz and glam they lack. 
  • Relevance. You’ll want to hire a speaker who is relevant to your theme and audience and with experience speaking at similar events. Decide if you want someone to kick off the event by capturing attendees’ attention or someone to break the conference schedule by exposing the audience to their achievements. Whomever you decide to put on stage should be seen as an authority. 
  • Diversity. Finding diverse speakers is a matter of responsibility, not to say it will enrich your conference with different perspectives, insights, and experiences. Take into account the gender and race of the speaker because you must provide different opinions and angles of the main topic. Women tend to be underrepresented on the stage, just so you know. 

Conclusion

Both keynote and guest speakers are important to a conference as they work in tandem to educate and inspire attendees. They take listeners on a fascinating journey, connecting on an emotional level and making information easier to digest. Keep in mind that the presenter of the event is the decisive factor in whether it will be successful or not. 

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