This list is useful to you if you want to find the best keynote speaker for your conference.

If you’re looking for celebrity, fame, or attention, you can still find that type of speaker “draw” with this information, but as you and every other event planner know, impact is the key.

You want the speaker you book to have a positive impact on the audience.

You want the audience to take what they’ve learned from your speaker and put it into action.

As a conference organizer, you want a great turnout, an engaged audience, and a buzz surrounding your event afterward that sells more tickets later.

To help you find the best keynote speaker for your event, here are 10 steps:

Before You Start Searching

#1. Know Your Conference

It can be tempting to go book the most popular, famous speaker in the industry to be your keynote speaker.

You think the popular speaker will be what draws the crowd.

But before you do book that speaker, ask yourself this question:

“What do I want to accomplish with this event?”

Spend a few minutes narrowing this goal into one or two sentences.

For example, your goal can be to:

  • Motivate business owners to take action in the marketplace instead of waiting for the market to come to them.
  • Inspire leaders to take a more engaged approach with their teams in the midst of chaos.
  • Encourage confidence leaders to take the next step in their businesses

Knowing what you want to achieve with your event or conference clarifies what you may be looking for in a speaker.

#2. Define Your Theme

Now that you have your goal or message for your event, define the theme.

You may be thinking, “The message is the theme and the theme is the message.”

Well, there is a difference.

Your theme is a general principle, and your message is that general principle in a specific action.

Let’s use one of the goals/messages from above:

“Motivate business owners to take action in the market.”

This message utilizes its theme quite directly: “to take action.”

So, if you were to define your theme it would, at its core, be “action.”

Now you have a theme and a message you can take into your keynote speaker search.

A conference theme helps narrow the field of speakers that will fit your event.

#3. Know Your Audience

If you’ve determined your message and defined your theme, you ought to know your audience well enough.

In fact, the message and theme should be what draws your audience to the event.

Continuing with the examples above, your theme and message could be aimed at different types of audiences.

Here are some potential audiences for the theme and message used above:

  • Small Business Owners
  • C-Suite Executives
  • Digital Marketers

It’s important to know who you’re shaping your theme and message for so that when you go looking for a keynote speaker.

Find the individual who speaks to your audience’s struggles or pain points through the given theme and message.

#4. Know Your Budget

What can you afford and what you budget for may be two different numbers.

You want to know exactly what the budget allows.

This way you can book a speaker quickly and efficiently.

Start Your Search

#5. Leverage Your Network

If you’ve got a network, use it.

Let your connections know that you’re looking for a keynote speaker that can speak on a specific message and theme.

In fact, here’s an email template you can use to send out:


Hello [name],

[positive statement about the person you’re emailing]

In case you didn’t know, I’m in search of a speaker who can address [theme] and speak to the following message for an event I’m booking:

[message/goal]

If you have anyone in mind, please feel free to send their information my way.

[Sign off]


Maybe you’re calling, texting, or messaging them on social media. Use the same format above. You want to connect with them and then request the information.

Now, your network may not get back to you as quickly as your ability to search online for a speaker, but putting those fishing lines out will help do the work for you.

Someone in your network may know exactly who to refer to you, and that takes a ton of work off your plate.

#6. Search YouTube

You probably already use YouTube to find speakers for your events, but there are some secrets to the number two search engine on the internet that you may have not discovered yet.

Here are some ways you can leverage YouTube to find speakers faster and more efficiently.

Use the type of speaker you’re looking for plus the term keynote speaker: “type” + “keynote speaker”

youtube search bar keynote speaker

Next, click on the “filter” button just below the search box after you hit enter on your search term.

This little box will open up a variety of options for you to use to cull the search results.

For most, they skip this box and start scrolling.

This little box is what will save you hours searching YouTube for the perfect speaker.

You want to select the following options (or mess around with it as you see fit):

  • This year (optional)
  • Rating or View count

youtube search filters keynote speakers

Now, as you scroll through the settings you’ve selected, you will get the best of whichever filtering options you’ve selected.

If you’ve found a speaker you like, click through to their YouTube channel.

Then, click on “about.”

In this section, you should be able to find either their website or email address to contact them.

#7. Use Social Media Tools

There are two main tools in this area that you can use to discover speakers and their online influence. The first is Buzzsumo. The second is Followerwonk. Utilizing these two tools, you can get a 10,000 foot view of a speaker’s potential influence online.

Let’s go through an example.

Say you’re searching for leadership speakers, so you go over to Buzzsumo and search “leadership speaker.”

Followerwonk search for leadership speakers

You’ll get a list of results, as seen below:

buzzsumo leadership speakers search

Now, you can go through these results and find potential speakers that are doing well in regards to social engagement.

Want to take this one step further?

You can head on over to Followerwonk, sign up for a free account, and check out the speakers you’ve discovered and their social activity on twitter.

Why is this important?

You can see how this person engages online, how many are following them, and their “social authority.” It’s a great tool to use surrounding your events, too. Encourage your attendees to tweet about the event, and you can measure the conversation for engagement and influence across the internet.

#8. Ask Your Attendees

Do you have an attendee list yet?

If you do, your speaker may be out there in your audience already.

What’s more, your attendees may be able to give you a few speakers that would fit their needs.

You can simply send out emails over the course of a few weeks and tally the responses.

Then, align those responses with your theme and message.

Now, you’ve got a potential list of speakers without having to guess what your audience wants to see.

#9. Search Speaker’s Bureaus

You may find that working through a speaker’s bureau to be an effective way to find a keynote speaker for your event — or any speaker for that matter.

You can simply search “speaker’s bureau” into your favorite search engine and find dozens of them.

google search for a speakers bureau

But how do you find the right one?

This is where you’ll need to do some legwork before you give the bureau a call.

First, you want to search through each bureau and find your potential speakers.

Second, you’ll want to go use the YouTube method shared above to see if those potential speakers align with your theme and message (if the bureau doesn’t have any videos of the speaker).

Finally, you will want to contact the bureau to discuss dates, times, prices, and more.

Communicate your theme, message, and audience to the bureau when discussing potential speakers so that they can help assess the booking opportunity with you.

#10. Search Speaker’s Agencies

Use the same approach as step nine.

Search “Speakers agency” in your favorite search engine.

Cull out the agencies that have potential speakers.

Go check out those speakers on YouTube.

Then, give the agency a call and discuss any necessary details on how to book the desired speaker.

One benefit you will get out of an agency over a bureau is the personal attention. Most agencies work one-on-one with their speakers, and they keep close ties on their messages. This means a more accurate fit for theme, message, and audience.

Key Takeaways

Here are the 10 steps to find the best keynote speaker for your event:

  • Know Your Conference
  • Define Your Theme
  • Know Your Message
  • Know Your Budget
  • Leverage Your Network
  • Search YouTube
  • Use Social Media Tools
  • Ask Your Attendees
  • Search Speaker’s Bureaus
  • Search Speakers Agencies

Platinum Speakers Agency Can Help

It can be tough to find the best speaker for your event, but it doesn’t have to be. Give Platinum Speakers Agency a look, and find the keynote speaker for your event. When you’re ready, give us a call and let’s discuss how our speakers can engage and captivate your audience.

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