5 Tips to Get the Best out of Your Event’s Speakers

5 Tips to Get the Best out of Your Event’s Speakers

If you’ve ever organized events, you probably encountered the number one stumbling block: speakers that don’t deliver on their promises. They go on for too long, their contributions are too standard, or they aren’t very to the point. This would be unheard of on radio or TV, but it seems as if they are able to get away with it when it comes to events. Even though you may feel as if you’re at the mercy of the speaker gods, this doesn’t necessarily need to be the case. Let me help you with these 5 tips!

Debate in the HQ of DAS in Amsterdam. BNR Wake up Call, debate about the future of the modern CEO.


Interview instead of a Keynote

The aforementioned speaker gods were rather stingy when they handed out presentation skills. As a result, good presentations are hard to find. So why not have the moderator interview someone? That makes it a lot easier to focus on the topics you want and the speaker does not need to prepare an entire presentation. It is also a lot easier to cut an interview short when you’re out of time.

Audiences love a short and crispy session. Less time is often the best option.

Give People LESS Time

If you allot less time for your speaker, you force him or her to get to the heart of what they want to say – quickly. That means fewer lingering introductions and slow-moving stories. Now, I know what you’re thinking: ‘Can I really ask someone to show up for a 10 minute speech?’ Yes. It’s that simple. At BNR, people sometimes show up for a mere 3 minutes!

Be Very Clear about your Speaker’s Role

Which part of the event do you need the speaker for? Be very specific and clear. Don’t say ‘do a little something on sustainability’, but instead ask for ‘two examples that clearly show sustainability leads to a better price for the consumer’. Clear as day!

Be loud and clear


It’s an old law in journalism: Know What You Want to Know. In addition to moderating, my main added value as a presenter is finding out what the event’s organizers really want to talk about. What is the target audience, the event’s goal, and the core message? Which 3 key questions are we going to answer? Who is best equipped to answer those questions? Only by having this conversation will you find out what the event needs to be about.

Hire an Editor

Not only hitmen and presenters are for hire – editors are too! Find someone who’s used to making TV or radio programs. Someone who has an extensive network, who knows how to find a speaker that works well with the event’s theme, and who doesn’t mind canceling people that don’t meet your event’s standards.

Event organizers tend to be shy in giving instructions. They feel ‘lucky’ the speaker is doing their event in the first place. In my experience, the opposite holds true: ‘I’m very happy you’re clear and concise, I now know exactly what to do.’


And PS. When you organise a Dutch event. Never, NEVER forget the bitterballs.. 😉

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1 reactie
  • Na honderden congressen en seminars en een veelvoud aan ingehuurde sprekers zeg ik: 5 dikke tips!

    En een 6e tip voor de sprekers: Ga je het publiek vertellen wat je weet of wat ze willen weten?

Rens de Jong