When it comes to hosting an event, whether this be an award ceremony, conference or other, having the right host or guest speaker can make all the difference.
If you get it right, the results can be electric. If you get it wrong, your event will be remembered by everyone for all the worst reasons.
Using a big-name ‘celebrity’ of screen, stage or business excellence as a guest host for your event certainly adds an additional hook for attracting delegates. But with speakers of this ilk often entailing a substantial investment, it's important to ensure you not only choose the right person, but that you get the most out of their involvement.
So, what are our top tips when going through the selection process?
Are your delegates evenly split between male and female? Is one age group more heavily represented than another? Do the demographics of your event attendees lend themselves to a particular type of host? Keep all of these in mind and, book the best person for them – not just because the CEO or MD is a fan.
Being a famous TV actor or business guru doesn’t make someone a good awards host or speaker. Get some testimonials from those in the know to ensure your 'special guest' doesn't fall flat.
Agents are numerous and some will offer faces just to appear bigger and more capable than they really are. The best agents are trusted by the artists and genuinely earn their 20%. Don’t assume that because someone is on their list that they know them well.
The most expensive name or biggest celebrity isn’t necessarily the best fit for your event. Their presence in the room is what your people will take away with them, so don't be afraid to go with lesser known personalities, if feedback suggests they can bring something special to your event.
Prepare a comprehensive brief and make sure that every single one of your requirements are detailed in any agreement or offer.
Arrange a briefing call with the celebrity / speaker / host a week or two before your event. Any earlier than that isn’t worth it as it won’t remain fresh.
Work with and take advice from the talent you’ve booked. You may organise one event per year, but they are probably doing this all of the time. Take into account their feedback on what works and what doesn't.
In our experience, longer on stage doesn’t necessarily mean better value. Think of it along the same lines as 'quality not quantity'. Take advice from the person you’re booking and what works best for them.
Almost goes without saying. Make them feel looked after from the moment they’re on site. Even the most seasoned of performers can be as human and vulnerable on stage as the rest of us.
Finally, make a point of following up with a personal thank you for a job well done. The best gigs aren’t forgotten in a hurry and it works both ways.
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