There are many cogs in the proverbial event wheel that need to work together in order to host a successful virtual event. Planning, marketing, technology, sponsors, goals, themes, and attendance are only a few of the factors that an event professional needs to consider. But what about finding those perfect virtual speakers that deliver the same impactful message that attendees would have experienced in person?
Whether they were already experienced in the virtual event sphere or had to adapt in response to COVID-19, event professionals have seen virtual technology and innovation skyrocket since the start of the pandemic. No matter how impressive a virtual platform is or how personalized an attendee’s experience is, however, great virtual speakers are still an irreplaceable aspect of a successful virtual event. Here’s how event professionals can get it right.
1. Experience Helps, But is Not Required
When trying to find the perfect speaker for your event, a speaker’s virtual know-how can help to ensure a smoother experience but is not required for a virtual event to be successful. An experienced keynote speaker will transition to a virtual platform using largely the same skill set they utilize when addressing live audiences. The main difference between experienced and inexperienced virtual speakers is access to the right technology, such as audio and video equipment, the right virtual setting, and the confidence to navigate technical difficulties.
A speaker’s virtual inexperience doesn’t have to dissuade you from booking them for your event, however. Finding a speaker whose message and background align with your audience is just as important, and any kinks can be ironed out during the logistical process of the event.
Companies and event professionals aren’t the only ones who have adapted to the virtual event sphere over the past year. At AAE, we’ve seen a lot of speakers modify their content to suit a digital format and gain more experience with each virtual event they attend.
Check out our Virtual Event Guide, which answers the most commonly asked questions about planning, booking, and executing virtual events, as well as AAE’s talent tip sheet for ways that virtual event speakers can present effectively and professionally.
2. Know Your Budget
Our clients have told us repeatedly that, for virtual events, we were able to help them book keynote speakers and celebrities that would normally have been out of their budget.
We can’t take all of the credit for our great prices – more affordable speaking fees are actually a reaction to the nature of virtual events. For example, a speaker with a busy schedule and expensive fee range may be more flexible when virtually connecting with an audience for an hour, versus traveling to a location and staying at an event for a full day or more.
Know your budget before starting your search for a virtual speaker, and keep in mind that your budget may be able to go a lot further for a virtual event versus an in-person event. Some virtual speakers offer discounted virtual fees, or a client’s budget may be freed up by cutting a speaker’s travel, location, and accommodation expenses out of the equation.
3. Partner Up
Partner with a speakers bureau like AAE to help facilitate the booking and logistical process of hosting a virtual speaker. Since September 2019, we have assisted with well over 1,200 virtual events. We know better than most how many moving parts there are when planning an event, whether in-person or virtual, and that’s why we strive to make finding and booking a speaker as seamless as possible.
Our agents are DES (Digital Event Strategist) certified through PCMA.org. This certification ensures that our team is highly qualified and knowledgeable about all aspects of virtual event execution. Having an experienced partner on your team can make a tremendous difference in the success of your event.
4. Research All Options
Consider your target audience, goals, and themes when you start to look for the right keynote speaker. Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, narrow down your options by reading the reviews of virtual speakers you’re interested in, try to find out if they’ve done similar talks, and look at their speaking videos to gauge their experience and whether or not they’re the right fit for your event.
When you work with AAE, our priority is finding you the best speaker for your needs. We do this by curating speaker lists by industry and topic. Our experienced booking team can further personalize a list for you based on your budget and theme. Because we work for you and do not represent the talent, you are getting recommendations that are both highly matched and impartial.
5. Establish Goals
Establishing a concrete goal before you start to plan your virtual event will lay the groundwork for everything that follows. Decide on your event goals – is it to increase revenue or market a product, to educate or motivate an audience, to entertain, or something else? Once you’ve established these goals, make sure that the speaker you choose aligns with your objectives and topics.
For example, if you want to motivate your audience and your goal is for them to leave the session feeling uplifted and thoughtful about the content of the event, make sure you choose a motivational speaker who specializes in that.
Great virtual speakers can ultimately determine the experience your audience will have at any virtual event. If you keep the above in mind and consider partnering with a speakers bureau, you’re on the right track to choosing the best virtual speaker for your next event.