If you are looking for a keynote speaker for your event, the first thing you should do is to figure out what sort of keynote speaker you want. Are you looking for a big name that will be a draw to get people to come to your event? Do you want an industry expert who will teach the audience something about your field? Or are you looking for someone whose primary purpose is to entertain the attendees? Other functions you may want in a keynote speaker are to spearhead fundraising or to motivate your employees.
In many cases, the type of keynote speaker you seek will be tied to the specifics of your event. If you want a morning speech to kick off a conference, you might want an industry expert, while an entertainer might be better suited as an after-dinner speaker. Even if you want someone who can both educate and entertain, your event may require an emphasis on one side or the other.
One way to hold down costs for a keynote speaker is to find someone who lives in your area, as opposed to someone whose presence would require you to provide airfare and a hotel.
If your event is tied to a charity or cause, you can look for speakers that have shown a specific interest in that charity or cause. Such speakers may be willing to come to your event at a reduced price.
Up-and-coming speakers may also be more within your budget than the bigger names.
In general, you should settle on a date and time for your event before contacting potential keynote speakers. It will not do either of you any good if you hire someone and then pick a date and time for which the speaker is unavailable.
On the other hand, if you have a particular speaker in mind that is uniquely suited to your event, you could schedule your event around the speaker’s available if you have that flexibility.
If you are not sure what type of speaker is most appropriate for your event, find out which speakers have appeared at similar events put on by your organization and how audiences responded to these speakers. If you have contacts at other organizations in your field, you can ask them for their experiences with speakers. If you are promoting a specific cause, you don’t want to end up with someone who does not support that cause or who is prone to saying things that could offend your audience.