It’s no secret that booking a speaker—someone with expert knowledge and experience—is crucial to the success of your event. The right speaker will attract a larger audience and increase their engagement, transforming a simple lecture into an unforgettable experience.

But in order to do all that, you have to, well, book a speaker! Finding and securing the right speaker can feel overwhelming, which is why we’ve boiled it down to three simple steps, so you get most out of your valuable time—and theirs.

Plan Your Event

This sounds obvious, but before you can book a speaker, you need to have a vision for your event as a whole. Is it a single event? Part of a larger event? How involved will the speaker be? You don’t have to have every little detail set in stone, but providing the bigger picture will help the speaker determine if they’re a good fit for the keynote, help shape their speech if they accept, and demonstrate your competence.

You also need to know the date of the event, and if there’s any flexibility. A speaker might be unavailable on the day you want, so it’s important to know if you’re able to work with them to pick the right date for everyone.

Do Your Research

Once you have an outline for the event, it’s time to pick your speaker. You may even choose a top three in case some aren’t available. Make sure you know what they’ve written, where else they’ve spoken, and if they’ve ever presented at an event similar to yours. Just because you want them to speak doesn’t mean they’re the best fit for you. To truly be effective, their expertise should be in-line with your event, and their presentation style should match the format of your event.

Be sure to check their pricing, or ask in your initial inquiry if you can’t find it online. No need to waste either party’s time if their cost isn’t in-line with your budget. Don’t forget to ask about accommodations and transportation—who is paying for that? What is needed?

The most important part of booking a speaker is to remember that well-known speakers and content experts book up fast—typically months in advance. Make sure you’re not booking in less than six months, unless you know the speaker can make the short timeline. And the more well-known the speaker is, the earlier you should book. This gives your speaker plenty of notice, and allows you plenty of time to properly market your event.

Be ready for them

So your event planning is in the works, you’ve research and chosen a speaker—and they’ve agreed to come. Congratulations! You have one step left in your journey, and that’s to make sure you’re completely prepared for their arrival.

Because you’ve already established how they’ll be traveling (remember, how do they prefer to travel, who is paying for it?), confirm these plans a few days before the event. Make sure all involved parties have your contact information, or the contact information of any events coordinator.

Most importantly for any keynote, make sure there’s a crowd—especially if you’ve promised one. There’s nothing worse than a speaker without an audience!

BONUS TIP! Don’t forget to add them in the head count for catering or any dinners.