Here’s the Key (Note)

5 ways to find a unique keynote speaker

If you’re planning to have a keynote speaker at your event, you know how much of a big deal it can be. You want the person to be memorable, but also offer important, beneficial information to your audience. You want your attendees to talk about this presentation for years to come and to go home with knowledge imparted by your selection. Your speaker is a reflection of you and the work you’ve put into planning this event. So the question is: How do you find an exciting keynote speaker? Here are five ways you may not have tried—yet.

Use LinkedIn

It’s all about who you know. You could (and should) use websites like the National Speakers Association and Speaker Match for your needs, but you never know who your contacts can offer up. You may find the most unique (and unexpected) match made in meeting heaven. In addition to the professional network, use your personal network, too. You may find that friends or colleagues have attended a recent event and haven’t been able to stop talking about the speaker since. 

Discover Someone New

Many will argue that there’s no match for experience with a keynote job, but finding a great debut speaker can prove a win, too. For one, you’ll find that there’s less competition for speakers who are less in demand (but only because they haven’t made a big name—yet), and your attendees are less likely to have heard them speak before, reducing the chances of a repeat performance. Search for bloggers in your industry, or join online conversations through social platforms or professional websites.  


If you can’t make it around the country (or the world) to attend other related and nonrelated industry meetings, see if you can live-stream the presentations, or at the very least, catch an online video after the fact. You’ll be able to see sessions (keynote and not) from the events, letting you glean an idea of who you’d like to present at your meeting.

Just Ask

Though there’s no guarantee that your audience will get what they ask for, it wouldn’t hurt to ask! Set up a poll—via social, email, write-in—asking who they’d like to see give the keynote at your event. If it’s public, you might be able to persuade potential speakers with the obvious demand for their talent. 

Go to School

Local colleges and universities are bursting with talent, and chances are you’ll discover your perfect keynote speaker if you look. It might be a student, but more likely you’ll find that a professor or other education professional can match your needs for industry knowledge and ability to give a great presentation.