The end of the year can feel like a whirlwind of back-to-back business events. From Christmas parties to annual awards and announcing the targets you’ve smashed – as well as negotiating those you haven’t – December is often gift-wrapped with glitzy commercial gatherings

With a new year come refreshed business plans – these often include conferences, ceremonies and expert gatherings. Whether your event is internal and employee-focused or client-facing and brand-conscious, it pays to choose the right motivational host.

Define your event aims – and make sure your speaker lines up

Choosing the right keynote speaker can make all the difference to your event. To get this right, it pays to think strategically.

Event planners should use the SMART principles for setting goals. Your event aims should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. If your goal is employee engagement, select a speaker your workforce will relate to. If you’re focused on projecting a sharp company image, choose someone with the charisma to do you proud.

Once you’ve defined your event goals, make a list of what you look for in a speaker.

Industry expertise or inspiration? Get your priorities straight

One of the key decisions you need to get right is the balance between expertise and inspiration. Keynote speakers are a diverse group – some are business leaders with a wealth of knowledge in your field, while others have a personal and inspirational story to tell.

If your goal is to rouse the troops within your business, a human interest speech can work very well. If you would prefer to present a commercially astute image to clients or competitors, selecting an expert speaker doesn’t mean you need to compromise on charisma.

The experts at Speakers Corner are experienced in negotiating this age-old conundrum. They have a broad range of speakers, offering a blend of backgrounds and experience in a range of topics to suit your niche.

Consider brand image

Your speaker’s persona and portfolio should fit with your desired business image. Consider whether you want to present your organisation as traditional or youthful, innovative or established.

The motivational speaker should be the focus of your guests’ attention, so it is vital to select a face that fits. Your investment in a colourful and contemporary backdrop is worth very little if the star of the show doesn’t complement them.

Take a step-by-step approach to event branding and use your speaker’s image to boost your own in the run-up to the event.

Think content – and understand the audience

Now it’s time to consider the content of the event speech. Motivational speakers have diverse portfolios – some offer humour, while others have inspirational tales to tell.

Take some time to understand your audience and what is likely to strike well with them. Will they appreciate this type of humour, will they appreciate a tale of overcoming adversity or a go-getter’s story of success?

Make sure the content matches the tone of the event and fits with the crowd you’ve invited.

Create a shortlist, then research their performance style

There are many ways to select a host that aligns with your event aims – but charisma is as important as them all.

A powerful speech requires a powerful speaker; someone able to deliver a well-structured talk that truly engages your audience. Look at reviews, watch performance videos and look for that winning energy.