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3 ideas event organizers look for in a keynote or industry main stage speaker

By Julie Miller

Budget, engagement, and diversity are crucial, according to the All American Entertainment 2022 Speaking Industry Benchmark Report.


A man speaking in front of a small group of people.Events and conferences have had some bumpy years with travel restrictions and capacity limits that have shut the industry down completely. As the months of shutdowns and extreme caution passed, waves of COVID-19 cases have resulted in uncertainty from individuals about traveling and gathering in large crowds.


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With 2023 on the horizon, however, it appears the events and conferences industry is back in action. The All American Entertainment 2022 Speaking Industry Benchmark Report surveyed 541 event organizers, and 82% said their budgets in 2022 were the same (57%) or higher (25%) than they were in 2021. In the future, we can expect even more emphasis on events in 2023 and beyond, and in turn, even higher budgets.


Events create boundless opportunities for companies looking to use speaking engagements to gain exposure for the brand and leadership. But booking a speaking engagement may be easier said than done, as many organizations seek these coveted spots on panels and in keynotes. 

Here are three factors event organizers look for when booking a speaker for events, according to the AAE report:


  1. Budget-Friendly and Adding Value - How well a speaker fits within event organizers’ budgets remains the leading factor in choosing a keynote speaker. However, just because someone fits within a budget doesn’t mean they’re the best option. Once organizers identify a speaker within budget, they look for other leading qualities such as relevant speaking topics and a compelling story.
  2. An Engaging Presenter - Event organizers look for speakers who get people off their phones during sessions. The most important goals event organizers have for their speakers are audience engagement, audience education, and boosting attendance.
  3. Diverse Perspectives and Topics - Diversity is important when selecting panelists and presenters, as it challenges the audience to think differently, and this can foster more dynamic and engaging discussions. But conference organizers are further emphasizing the importance of diversity, with 58% marking diversity, equity, and inclusion as a leading priority for selecting topics. Mental health (47%) and the future of work (33%) followed diversity.

So what comes next? If your organization is looking to break into the conference circuit for your industry in 2023, start thinking about the ways you can meet the criteria event organizers are prioritizing. Then, give our team at Axia Public Relations a call to learn about our KeyNote service. The team leading our KeyNote service can help you with every step of the process, from researching opportunities and making recommendations, to preparing responses to conference calls for submissions and promoting the opportunity once we secure it.


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JulieMiller.pngJulie Miller is a marketing and communications professional with more than seven years of experience in the industry. She specializes in technology, digital marketing and communications. Julie has worked for Axia Public Relations since November 2015. Connect with Axia on Twitter @axiapr or tell us what you think in the comments below.


Photo by Henri Mathieu-Saint-Laurent

Topics: PR tips, public speaking

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