A keynote speaker’s purpose is to set a general tone for an event, so it is vital to find an appropriate one. “Some of the most important things to consider include the message you want guests to take away, whether to opt for an in-house or external speaker or a mix of both, and whether the speaker’s personality is in line with the company’s image,” says Jed Mok, general manager, creative and strategy planning, at Pico Singapore.

Are you seeking a speaker who can provide content, entertainment or a theme that is more motivation-based? You can source speakers in a number of ways, via colleague recommendations, checking a speaker’s website and referencing videos of the speaker’s past presentations on YouTube.

“It’s best to speak directly with the speaker and insist that you want to brief them directly so that you can get a sense that this person is the ‘right’ one for your event,” says Sean Rach, chief marketing officer at Prudential Corporation Asia.

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Amway Indonesia’s manager, special events, Sorin Widjaja, adds that the keynote speaker should also relate to the audience, so consider demography and age, alongside male/female ratios.

If budget is no issue, then a name is always a nice to have, and can act as a drawcard. Without a well-known name, more time and thought needs to be given to the message/outcome that attendees will get from your proposed speaker. “Having someone cover a topic that is a little ‘aspirational’ is always good, or an influential peer,” says Melanie Ricketts, event director at cievents. “People are always interested in hearing from someone they can identify with, or learn from and someone who’s a little left of centre can’t hurt either.”

For ticketed events, engaging someone who is willing to create awareness using their own networks is always advantageous.

Pictured: TED x Boston