One of the most frequent matters of debate in the planning stage of an event, is what type of keynote speaker to go for. Do you go with a big name – perhaps one with international name-recognition – to help in the buzz-generation effort? Or do you take it a different route and direct your search a little closer to home?
Our partners at Tourisme Montréal recently did a feature on savvy speakers to bring to local events. We’ve compiled our own list of benefits to booking a local speaker:
1) Lay of the Land
A local speaker brings attributes unique to the host city. Individuals who have roots in an area can truly tap into the local culture and essence in an authentic way. This is unmatched by an out-of-town speaker regardless of how much research they do in advance of the event.
One of the highest drivers of added costs can be travel to and from event. Flights, ground transportation, hotel and meals all add up. These costs can come at the expense of other important elements at your event.
Going local allows you to spend more on a speaker or reallocate funds to other impactful elements at your event. An added benefit: the reduced risk of travel complications.
3) Event Prep
Most speakers offer clients pre-event call in order to gauge the desired outcomes and help in crafting the perfect presentations, but locals can take this a step further. A brief meeting with the leadership team can do wonders in gaining organizational excitement and buy-in prior to the event. Establishing such rapport can bring an aura of familiarity that helps facilitate more open dialogue on event-day. What’s more, it provides opportunity to capture pre-event video with the speaker for use in promotional and event-day materials.
4) Local Stories
A local story is much more than just words. It’s a sense of place that empowers individuals. Seeing success in similar environment offers audience a sense of feasibility. A local speaker can bring an unrivalled sense of local history and tradition that resonates and helps bond the audience.
5) Name Recognition
Audiences take pride in successful locals. News organizations also love to cover events featuring local speakers, offering some public relations points as added benefit. If your event is public, this can help not only in gaining audience numbers in the leadup to the event, but also spinoff events. Local speakers often love to speak to groups about their hometown and will often re-jig their schedule to accomodate an event close to their heart.
The Tourisme Montréal article presents an interesting challenge: finding keynote speakers with a unique set of language skills, in this case finding French speakers for the Quebec audience. While it is somewhat rare for presentations to be delivered in two languages, Q&A will feature discussion in both languages. Foreign dialects and accents often present a barrier to impact and audience retention, the use of a local speaker can help mitigate such risks.
To help in your search for local speakers, our advances search tool ‘Speaker Scout’ will do all the legwork for you and take the guess work out of speaker programming. Search for speakers based on one or more of the following: Location, Name, Area of Expertise, Presentation Type, Topic Area, Keywords and more!