Checklist for booking after dinner speakers

Attracting and hiring appropriate after dinner speakers is a challenging task and one which you really cannot afford to get wrong. For your event to be successful, you need to be able to hire someone who not only has expertise and knowledge of your particular industry or area you wish to showcase, but is able to engage with and inspire your guests. Your after dinner speaker also needs to retain audience attention and perhaps inject a little bit of humour too.

But where do you start? How do you go about attracting and hiring relevant after dinner speakers for your event? Events by Knight have considerable experience in matching appropriate speakers to specific functions, designing, planning, preparing and staging events to be proud of. We understand the difficulties and pitfalls you’re likely to encounter when undertaking such a stressful process, so we’ve put together a checklist of important things to bear in mind.

Make sure the event is relevant to the speaker

The best after dinner speakers to hire are those who can add value to your event. They have up to date subject knowledge and can tie that in with a demonstrated presentation style. Word of mouth recommendations are a good way to find out about potential speakers as is listening to industry related podcasts and contacting speakers directly. Remember that popular speakers tend to be booked up for months in advance, therefore you will need to give yourself ample time to draw up a short list of available speakers before making a final decision.

Be clear on subject nature, timings, equipment needed and agenda

Once you have booked your after dinner speaker you will need to decide on content and duration for their presentation. Will your speaker be giving a standard industry talk or will they need to adjust it to comply with the interests and age range of your audience? If your speakers require microphones and / or presentation equipment, will these be readily available within the venue or will you be called upon to provide technology, cabling and / or a PA system? Will you need to factor in sufficient time for a question and answer session? Also remember that fees charged will reflect any extra preparation time and equipment needed, so don’t forget to include for this in your budgeting.

Travel / accommodation arrangements

Your speakers may prefer to make their own travel and accommodation arrangements, including for this in their final invoice or alternatively they may expect you to provide accommodation and reimburse them with travel costs, parking charges, taxis, etc on the day. Again, both parties need to be clear in deciding and agreeing on the most practical methods of resolving these issues well in advance of the event. Allow plenty of time for unexpected traveling delays and remember that if a speaker has to endure a lengthy and complicated journey, this may impact on his efficiency.

Written confirmations

It’s important that all parties are aware of their obligations, accept terms and conditions in writing and are able to contact you at all times prior to the event. Confirm all parties have access to email addresses, telephone and mobile numbers as well as a back-up contact name and phone number for emergency use. The more details which can be communicated in writing, the less likelihood there is for mistakes and misinterpretation. For guidance, we recommend that the following details be included:

  • Speakers fees and when payable
  • Topic and talk timings
  • Definition of audience (numbers and demographics)
  • Equipment needed
  • Travel, accommodation, meal arrangements and payment options
  • Venue details (Provide maps)
  • Up to date contact information together with emergency back-up numbers
  • Logistics

Ideally, your after dinner speakers should visit the venue in advance of their presentation to familiarise themselves with the layout, lighting and equipment. Although this may not always be feasible due to the location and distances involved, it does allow time to resolve any unforeseen issues as well as checking that there is ample presentation space and seating and tables can be suitably laid out.

On the Day

Check equipment is in place, lighting is appropriate, lecterns are suitably positioned and your speakers have refreshment to hand.

Allow time to introduce and welcome your speakers on stage, giving their name, topic and interesting background information, perhaps including their career history and any notable awards. Of course, for this to flow well, you will have researched your speakers’ biographies, made detailed notes and cater for this introduction time – possibly one to three minutes – in the event agenda.

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, why not let a trustworthy event planner relieve the stress? Here at Events by Knight we create, plan and stage bespoke events. Our trustworthy database of speakers, vendors and suppliers are passionate about crafting truly memorable occasions and are readily available to cater for any specific or niche event requirements.

Events by Knight offer tailor made solutions to any event planning dilemma. Give us a call today on +44(0)203 130 4040 or contact us via the website. We’ll do all the hard work for you, leaving you with total peace of mind and an event to be proud of.