Keynote speaker

Everything You Need To Know About Keynote Speakers

Discover the essential steps to finding the ideal keynote speaker for your event. Learn how to choose a speaker who can engage, inspire, and leave a lasting impression on your audience.
May 10, 2023

Keynote speakers are a vital component of any event, from business conferences to academic symposiums to political rallies and yes, even your virtual/ hybrid or in-person events. They are the ones to engage, inspire, and motivate the audience with their powerful and memorable words. According to a survey by Meetings Today, 80% of meeting planners consider the keynote speaker to be the most important part of their event.

However, finding the right keynote speaker for an event can be a challenging task, and understanding their role and importance can be equally daunting. In this blog,  we are talking about everything you need to about the keynote speakers, including their role in the events, their qualities, and how to find and choose the right speakers for your event. Whether you are an event planner, a business owner, or simply interested in the art of public speaking, this guide will provide valuable insights and practical advice on how to make your next event a success with the perfect keynote speaker. Let’s start with the basics.

What is a keynote speaker?

A keynote speaker is a person who delivers the primary or central speech at a gathering or event, such as a conference, convention, or seminar. The keynote speaker is typically chosen for their expertise, experience, or knowledge in a particular field and is invited to address the audience with the goal of setting the tone and theme for the event. Keynote speakers are often well-known figures in their field or industry and are expected to provide the audience with insight, inspiration, and motivation.

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Their speech is usually delivered at the beginning of the event and can range in length from 20 minutes to an hour or more.

keynote speaker delivering a compelling and impactful speech

What is the role of a keynote speaker?

The role of a keynote speaker is to deliver a compelling and impactful speech to an audience at an event or conference, to set the tone, establish the theme, and inspire or motivate the attendees. Keynote speakers are usually chosen for their expertise, knowledge, or experience in a particular field, and they are expected to offer fresh perspectives, insights, and ideas that are relevant and meaningful to the audience.

Some of the key roles and responsibilities of a keynote speaker include:

  • Setting the tone and theme for the event: The keynote speaker's speech is typically the first one delivered at the event, and it sets the tone and theme for the rest of the proceedings.
  • Inspiring and motivating the audience: The keynote speaker is expected to inspire and motivate the audience with their speech, providing new insights and fresh perspectives on a topic.
  • Sharing expertise and knowledge: Keynote speakers are chosen for their expertise and knowledge, and they are expected to share that knowledge with the audience in an engaging and impactful way.
  • Providing thought leadership: A report by Forbes Insights found that 44% of executives believe that thought leadership is the most effective way to communicate their brand's message. Keynote speakers are often thought leaders in their field, and they are expected to provide new ideas and perspectives that challenge the audience's thinking.
  • Engaging with the audience: Keynote speakers must be able to engage with the audience, creating a connection and building rapport with them.

Overall, the role of a keynote speaker is to deliver a speech that is informative, engaging, and impactful, inspiring the audience and setting the tone for the rest of the event.

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What is the purpose of a keynote speech?

A keynote speech serves as a powerful tool for setting the tone and capturing the attention of an audience. It is designed to convey a central message or idea that can inspire, motivate, or inform the listeners. The purpose of a keynote speech is to spark curiosity, stimulate discussion, and create a lasting impact on the audience. Keynote speakers often draw upon their own experiences, insights, and expertise to craft a narrative that resonates with the audience and encourages them to reflect on their own goals and aspirations. By sharing their unique perspective and vision, a skilled keynote speaker can spark new ideas and ignite change in the minds and hearts of their listeners.

Why is it important to find the right keynote speaker?

Finding the right keynote speaker for an event can make all the difference between a lackluster gathering and a truly memorable experience. A great keynote speaker has the ability to inspire, educate, entertain, and motivate the audience to take action. They can connect with the audience on a personal level, and bring a fresh perspective to a familiar topic. Choosing the right keynote speaker requires careful consideration of the event's theme, audience, and goals, as well as the speaker's expertise, style, and reputation. A well-chosen keynote speaker can add tremendous value to an event, and help to create a truly unforgettable experience that resonates with the audience for years to come.

keynote speaker engaging with the audience

What is the difference between a guest speaker & a keynote speaker?

While both guest speakers and keynote speakers can add value to an event, there are some key differences between the two roles. A guest speaker is typically invited to share their knowledge or expertise on a specific topic, often as part of a panel discussion or breakout session. They may have a narrower focus than a keynote speaker and may not have the same level of prominence or name recognition. In contrast, a keynote speaker is the main attraction of an event, typically delivering a speech that sets the tone and captures the audience's attention. Keynote speakers are often selected for their unique perspective or accomplishments, and they may have a more expansive and inspiring message that resonates with a broad range of attendees. They may also have a higher level of visibility and public profile, which can help to generate buzz and excitement for the event. While both guest speakers and keynote speakers can be valuable contributors to an event, the keynote speaker typically plays a more prominent and impactful role in creating a memorable experience for the audience that lasts longer.

What are the qualifications of a good keynote speaker? 

A good keynote speaker should possess certain qualifications to effectively engage, inspire, and motivate the audience. Here are some of the qualifications of a good keynote speaker:


A good keynote speaker should have deep knowledge and expertise in the topic they are presenting on. They should be able to provide valuable insights and offer a unique perspective on the subject.


A good keynote speaker should have relevant experience in the field they are speaking about. They should have a track record of success and be able to share their personal experiences and lessons learned with the audience.

Communication skills

A good keynote speaker should be an excellent communicator. They should be able to articulate their ideas clearly, concisely, and in a compelling manner. They should be able to connect with the audience and engage them throughout their presentation.

A good keynote speaker should be an excellent communicator.


A good keynote speaker should have charisma and be able to command the attention of the audience. They should have a natural ability to inspire and motivate people, making them feel excited and energized about the topic.


A good keynote speaker should be flexible and adaptable to the needs of the audience and the event. They should be able to adjust their presentation to suit the occasion and be open to feedback and questions from the audience.


A good keynote speaker should be professional in their approach and conduct. They should be reliable, punctual, and easy to work with, and should have a positive attitude and a strong work ethic.


A good keynote speaker should be relevant to the event and the audience. They should be able to speak to the needs and interests of the attendees, providing insights and solutions that are applicable to their work or personal lives.

These qualifications can help ensure that the speaker delivers a memorable and impactful presentation that resonates with the audience.

How to find the best keynote speaker for your event

When it comes to planning an event, finding the right keynote speaker can be crucial for its success. According to a study by the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), 56% of event planners include diversity goals in their speaker hiring process. But with so many speakers out there, how can you find the perfect one? Here are some tips to help you find the best keynote speaker for your event:

1. Start with a search

Use search engines like Google to find speakers in your area of interest. Try searching for keywords related to your event topic and see what comes up.

2. Ask for word of mouth recommendations

Ask colleagues, friends, and family if they know of any great speakers that could be a good fit for your event. Word of mouth recommendations can be valuable as they come from trusted sources.

3. Contact a speaking bureau

Speaking bureaus can provide access to a large pool of speakers and can help you find a speaker that meets your requirements. They can also offer guidance on speaker fees and availability.

4. Look deeper

Once you have a list of potential speakers, take the time to research each one. Look at their website, social media profiles, and any videos of their past speaking engagements to get a better sense of their style and expertise.

5. Set up calls with candidates

Once you have a shortlist of potential speakers, set up calls with them to discuss your event and see if they would be a good fit. This will also give you an opportunity to ask any questions you may have about their speaking style, fees, and availability.

6. Ask your network for recommendations

Reach out to your network on social media and ask for recommendations for keynote speakers. You may be surprised at how many people are willing to help and may know someone perfect for your event.

Ask your network for recommendations for keynote speakers

7. Contact colleges, universities, and other educational institutions

Colleges, universities, and other educational institutions often have speakers bureaus that can provide access to a variety of speakers, including professors and researchers with expertise in your event topic.

8. Reach out to charities, foundations, and other related organizations

If your event is related to a specific cause or industry, consider reaching out to charities, foundations, and other related organizations. They may have a network of speakers who are passionate about the same cause or have expertise in the same industry.

9. Use Speaker Match

Speaker Match is an online platform that connects event planners with industry experts, keynote speakers, and other professionals. You can use this platform to find a speaker that meets your specific requirements.

By following these tips, you can find the best keynote speaker for your event and ensure its success. Remember to take the time to research each potential speaker and to ask plenty of questions to ensure that they are the right fit for your event.

Elevate Your Event with an Unforgettable Keynote Speaker

Choosing the right keynote speaker can make or break your event. A great speaker can engage and inspire your audience, leaving a lasting impression on them. By using the tips and strategies mentioned above, you can find the perfect keynote speaker for your event. Remember to do your research, ask for recommendations, and set up calls with potential speakers to find the right fit.

Talking of the right fit, we have something to add a little more oomph to your next event. Hubilo is a great event platform to help you manage your event from start to finish. With its easy-to-use features and customizable branding options, you can streamline your event planning process and deliver a seamless experience to your attendees. So, whether you're planning a small gathering or a large conference, Hubilo has got you covered.

If you're interested in learning more about Hubilo and its offerings, don't hesitate to request a demo today. With its powerful tools and dedicated support, Hubilo can help you take your event to the next level.


Hubilo is the webinar platform built for marketers that helps you 2X your pipeline. Founded in 2015, Hubilo's powerful engagement features, dedicated client experience team, and custom branding tools have helped create over 12K virtual events & webinars, creating hundreds of millions of minutes of high-engagement experiences and counting. Headquartered in Bengaluru and San Francisco, Hubilo's 200+ employees are dedicated to enabling webinars & virtual events that convert.

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