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Top 5 Best Practices for Booking Celebrity Keynote Speakers

By Leah Doyle | Sept. 26, 2019

Adding a well-known thought leader or celebrity keynote speaker to your conference agenda can be a great way to generate buzz for your event, bring awareness to your organization, and help maximize attendance.

The bigger the name in the speaking industry the busier the calendars and the more particular they are about the types of invitations they accept. And A-list celebrities rarely accept speaking engagements - often only presenting a couple times per year.

So, how can you get their attention, differentiate your group, and increase the chances of being able to secure them for your event? Our experts have some tips for you! Here’s what you need to know…Event Contract Negotiation

Match the speaker to your group. It’s important to make sure that the speaker you are inviting matches your general attendee demographic (e.g. a strong female celebrity for a women’s group.) Matching the presenter and the audience sets up a connection between them which can increase the likelihood of an offer being accepted, and ensure positive takeaways from that person’s session at your event.

Ask for a rider in advance. Getting a rider and AV requirements in advance, prior to submitting an offer, is always a good idea - especially when trying to secure a bigger name for your event. This will help you ensure that the talent’s AV and green room requests are reasonable and able to be accommodated. If not, you can specify any modifications in the initial offer and manage expectations up front.

Book well in advance. The more time you allow for them to review your offer, the better. The bigger the name in the speaking industry, and the more popular the celebrity, the busier the calendars. Dates fill up so you want to get to them quickly and well in advance for a better chance that your date(s) will be available.

Include an invitation letter. An invitation letter is key when inviting a top name to present at your event. This is your chance to expand on why you are interested in that person in particular - not just anybody. You can also take this opportunity to appeal to their personal, professional, and/or philanthropic passions and express the difference they will make at your event, with your attendees, and within that industry community.

Provide as many details as possible. When making your offer, be sure to provide as many details as possible. It’s easier to remove something down the road than to add it in later which often requires contract amendments and, depending on the request, can include an additional fee.

Your speakers bureau can help through this process to give you the best shot at booking a big name or celebrity keynote speaker. We have the right industry contacts, and the experience to guide you through all of the offer and negotiation details. With some advance planning, it’s possible to get a great name on board for your event.


Written by Leah Doyle
Leah originally joined SpeakInc in 2006 and currently serves as their Marketing Coordinator. Originally from Southern California, Leah is a graduate of San Diego State University. She currently lives in Jacksonville, FL with her husband, John, and their two children. If she's not taxiing her kids to softball and soccer, you can find her at the beach or a local coffee shop!

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