6 essentials to follow while hiring a Motivational / Keynote Speaker for an event

We have grown up hearing about heroes. Let’s start first with our parents, they are like superheroes in our mind and hearts! Then came heroes in our lives from the silver screen, sports channels and heroes from the border. Newspapers covering IAS toppers. Bravery awards. And nowadays from poster boys of start ups!

Our heroes mean a lot to us. Their stories inspire us. Their story of rags to riches makes us believe that we can also do it. Their story of making it big despite all challenges, teleports us. We identify with them. We see ourselves in them. More identifiable a hero is, the more it has chances to have a positive impact in our lives and behaviors.

And this is why we have a business of motivational speakers. It’s no longer limited to seeing your heroes and heroines on TV or social media but you can meet them in person, speak with them, have a click with them – for real! One of the biggest monetization for celebrities of respective after endorsements is motivational speaking. An extremely evolved business now with over 5,000 active motivationals and much bigger count for keynote speaking in India alone! 

Corporates have been hiring motivational speakers over decades now and with the surge of positive emotions thanks to Indian contingent performance at the Tokyo Olympics and volume of biopics hitting the big screen, the trend of hiring motivational speakers is here to grow and thrive like never before!  But the question is how do you go about making the motivational speaker inspire and uplift your employees or trade partners in an event? Here are 5 tips from the founder of engage4more , an employee engagement company operating in this space since 2010

  • Relatability with the speaker – it is so essential for your audience in the event to identify with the speaker. It is so important for the audiences to believe that they are like the motivational speaker and also vice versa. They should see a buddy in him / her. This is not just the story of the motivational speaker but also the way the motivational speaker speaks during the session. Words chosen or Examples shared.

Hear Neeraj Chopra speaking post his arrival from Tokyo after historic Gold Medal Performance – selection of most simple words and logic. No jargon. No unimaginable stuff.

Every single person watching him, listening to him is one with him! Gaur Gopal Das, Kapil Dev, Mary Kom, Saurav Ganguly, Harsha Bhogale have cracked this code. They are crazy simple when they do the job of a speaker. 

Dhoni is another great example on how he can be super technical and also switch to very simple language and also get witty in most unexpected moment!

PV SIndhu is yet another great example of keeping it very intense, fluid and yet very simple like a girl next door. 

  • Promotional Media support – A motivational speaker should support you in promoting his session for your event. He should give you those Quick video bytes and high resolution images that you can use in the pre-event communications, whatsapp, email broadcast.  

You should be able to market this investment fully and these personalised video messages can do wonders. Be as greedy as you can be, somewhere you are promoting the speaker as well apart from promoting the event!

  • Context matters – While you decide on hiring the motivational speaker with the first two points, here is the most critical part. We need to make this session as relevant for your company and its business. It is so important to have a briefing session with the speaker or their manager to take notes from you about the does and don’ts. Understand your business, your company, sector and most importantly the persona of the audiences in the event. In simple 4 pointer checklist in a one pager note about – the company, brand/business, key messages and outcome.

What kind of questions are likely to be asked. What kind of language will be understood by the audiences. Are there audiences from different states or countries? How much time is kept for the session and how much for the Questions and Answers session. Is there a selfie moment? Are there awards to be given? All of this is to stitch up and so it is important to do this a couple of days before the event. Ideally a good briefing session lasts for an hour. So important to have this in writing as well as the manager may also slip up in communicating with the motivational or keynote speaker. Important to have all deliverables captured in the agreement document or Scope of Work document which you sign up with the manager of the motivational speaker or with the event company.

  • Interaction – Accept this, sports personalities are there to win medals and trophies on the field instead of winning titles for public speaking! Not all of them are good at delivering speeches. Especially the corporate audiences that sit on chairs and not clapping enough or rushing for autographs. This can be threatening for a speaker as well if the person is not from the space of entertainment, war veteran or an activist as in all these cases that are doing this a core to their professions. Even in such cases we can not guarantee the speaking to be interactive enough. So what do you do in such cases? Answer is in moderation which can be done with a professional MC (EmCee) or someone who is recommended by the artist manager. 

This helps in making it very conversational and also has a great scope of making it interactive as the moderator can also create an environment of interaction and also guide the session in desired direction. We have seen great speakers like Sunil Gavaskar doing this quite often. It is quite applicable when the speaker isnt most confident with languages other than their mother tongue like in case of Hockey Legend Sandeep Singh. 

Logistics matter – It matters which city the speaker is from or is the speaker comfortable with video conferencing platforms like teams / ZOOM / Meet. It is so essential in today’s scenario for the speaker to have great lighting, internet connectivity and backup connectivity to be a part of a LIVE event. 

So critical to have fibre connections rather than relying on wi-fi or dongles! They should have a prompter page printer / message board in front of them to keep notes handy while talking. Be Familiar with picking up questions being moderated via chat windows as there can be such scenarios as well. In case the link goes down, it is so important for someone to quickly switch to hot spots and continue with just audio. Or in case of a laptop crashing, should be able to switch to a phone or another device. Things do happen and much more crazy stuff in the sp[ace of LIVE events. Simply we cannot have a recording of the session and we have to live with the uncertainties and preparations!

Overall, the answer is in preparation to structure the session to full details and also personalise your corporate content to make this work. Remember you pay in lakhs for those 45 minutes, every minute has a cost and we need to get the session super intense, engaging and eventually motivating and an impact that lasts for much longer!

Let’s engage4more!