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Ah, there you are, young Skywalker of event planning, ready to dive into the vortex of hiring your first keynote speaker. You’re probably as nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof or a millennial without Wi-Fi. But fear not, you’re not alone in this quest. I’ve seen enough first-timers making enough missteps to fill a gag reel. So, let’s cut to the chase and help you avoid becoming a blooper in the industry.

Trust, But Verify (Your Speaker, That Is)

We all want to believe that a person’s word is their bond. But in the keynote speaking business, it’s more like a pinky promise. When a speaker tells you they have a “customizable speech for all audiences,” that might just mean they swap out the name of the company in their PowerPoint. So, double-check their qualifications and ask for specific examples of their adaptability.

Pro Tip: Reach out to their past clients. They’re often more honest than your ex on social media. Trust, but verify, folks.

Don’t Be Bedazzled by Stardom

A keynote speaker’s social media following doesn’t necessarily equate to event success. Unless you’re hosting a gathering of social media managers, your audience probably won’t care if your speaker has a million TikTok followers but can’t string two sentences together in person.

Reality Check: Ask yourself, does the speaker’s online persona match what you need for your actual, real-world event? A hefty Instagram following doesn’t mean they won’t bore your audience to tears or deliver a speech as dry as unbuttered toast.

Don’t Ghost Your Speaker After the Contract

Sure, you’ve just signed the contract, and it feels like you’ve conquered Everest. But this isn’t a one-night stand; it’s more of a committed relationship. Your speaker needs to know about any updates or changes in logistics, expected audience size, and event tone. Open communication channels are as crucial as GPS on a road trip.

Quick Reminder: Regular check-ins can save you from major day-of-event hiccups. So pick up that phone or hit that Zoom button.

Read the Fine Print, Not Just the Fonts

Ah, contracts: the root canal of event planning. However, neglecting to read the fine print can be as disastrous as microwaving fish in the office. Make sure you understand what is and isn’t included. Will the speaker need accommodations? Do they expect a stretch limo from the airport? Don’t assume anything.

Life Lesson: Always, and I mean always, know what you’re agreeing to. Hidden fees are more surprising than finding out your quiet colleague is actually a karaoke champion.

No Plan B? That’s a Plan F for Failure

Oh, so your chosen Keynote Speaker is super reliable and has never missed an event? That’s fantastic! But guess what, life happens. Flights get canceled, illnesses strike, or maybe your speaker just wins the lottery and moves to Bali. What then? Always have a backup plan, or you’ll find yourself delivering the keynote speech, and nobody wants that. Trust me.

Last-Minute Wisdom: Think of your Plan B as your event’s insurance policy. You hope you’ll never need it, but you’ll be glad it’s there if you do.

There you have it—your guide to avoiding common pitfalls when hiring your first keynote speaker. Now, go forth and conquer the speaking world like the event-planning Jedi you were meant to be. And remember, if all else fails, humor can save almost any day—except when you forget to read the fine print. Then you’re on your own.