What Type Of Celebrity Makes The Best Keynote Speaker?

As a corporate consultant and talent manager for 20+ years, I have booked millions of dollars in motivational, inspirational keynote speakers. For inquiring businesses, the question always comes back to, “who is the best speaker fit for my event”? This is a tough question.

Keynote Speaker

The following is a list of questions you must ask yourself when considering a Celebrity Keynote Speaker for your next event:

  1. What type of organization, company or event is the Celebrity Keynote Speaker being hired for? Let’s say you are organizing a sales rally in Hawaii for 1%ers vs. someone hiring a Keynote Speaker for a women’s group in Bakersfield; your target Celebrity Keynote Speaker is going to be appreciably different. The sales rally may require an A-Type personality such as GE’s Jack Welch or former NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Whereas, the Women’s group may want Country Star and Celebrity Chef Trisha Yearwood, Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer or former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
  2. What is the demographic of your audience? Age, gender and position within the industry or company food chain matters a lot! If the event is a fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis and the audience is well-heeled, financially independent baby boomers, someone like Comedian Carrot Top or Running Back Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks would probably not be a worthy fit. But, maybe someone like Comedian Jay Leno or former NFL Quarterback Boomer Esiason would be a perfect fit. These two sets of Keynote Speakers are in the same industries, but certainly not the same quality of speaker.
  3. Is the event a non-profit or for-profit? Most Celebrity Keynote Speakers have a discounted fee for legitimate 501 (c) 3, non-profit events. This applies especially if the Keynote Speaker does not have to travel and/or fly.
  4. Is the event a stand-up keynote speech or a moderated Q&A? This makes a huge difference in the type of Keynote Speaker you will get. Sir Richard Branson prefers a moderated Q&A, whereas Martha Stewart likes a lectern to give a keynote speech. Getting the best out of a Celebrity Keynote Speaker sometimes just comes down to comfort and environment.
  5. What is your actual budget, not including travel and expenses? Everyone has the “eyes bigger than the stomach syndrome” when it comes to deciding who they want as their Celebrity Keynote Speaker. Be honest with yourself and the booking agent you are working with on your event.
  6. Message, Message, Message! Can the Celebrity Keynote Speaker deliver a message? It is imperative to secure a Keynote Speaker that can perfectly deliver the message your participants have come to hear. I have been to hundreds of events where the Keynote Speaker was spot on and remember very few. But as a corporate consultant, the ones that missed the mark all together will stay with me forever!

Ultimately, there are tens of thousands of potential Celebrity Keynote Speakers from adventurists to astronauts, athletes to celebrity chefs, comedians to politicians, reality TV Stars to Business Titans and so many others! If you are unclear or unsure of who is the right choice for your next event, email me at and let me assist you in this process. A big name doesn’t always mean a great event. Be sure you know what you are getting and for how much!