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Are you about to plan or organize an event or a conference and you are wondering what kind of speaker you should invite? Speaker’s selection might appear as sailing through the open ocean; there are limitless possibilities and criteria you need to consider.

So with which criteria you should start and what is important to clarify in advance?

Choosing a speaker is probably not the first thing you decide on when you are planning a conference or event. All your speakers should align with the topic, format, and purpose of your event. Small gatherings might prefer a specialist, who is well known in his industry, whereas more significant events also require a big name that attracts attendees.

Moreover, the better you understand the topic of your event, the better the choices of speakers you will make. You really need to understand the difference between Keynote and Seminar and Plenary speaker. Are you looking for speakers with a very similar point of view or you would like to make a brainstorm with very different approaches and view?

I hope you see my point. Try to describe speakers you would like to invite and now, what you need to do is to order which speaker will have which role on your event. Not all speakers are equal in their functionality.

Well, let me explain to you which functions can your speakers have.

To make your event as a pro and retain its dynamic from the beginning to the end, it is essential to get your attendees attention. You definitely should go for a keynote speaker first. Then, for more significant events, you can decide on including some panel talks or discussions. So what is the exact difference between Keynote and Seminar and Plenary speaker?

Keynote Speaker

There is no extraordinary event or a conference if there is no keynote speaker. Think of a keynote speaker as the main character. Each of the characters forms the story, but the main character delivers the main message and therefore has the most space to present him/herself.

Keynote speakers do not do a talk when it’s parallel with another speech. This talk should be relevant for every attendee. Since this talk either opens or closes the conference, the talk should deliver a clear message aligned with the overall purpose of the event. For such a task, mostly up to 60 minutes are granted for a keynote. Keynote speaker should motivate his audience and bring a breath-taking experience, about which all attendees are going to talk for weeks.

To make a keynote part attractive for every guest, you can apply some of our pieces of advice

A good keynote speaker should align with your overall purpose of the conference: be sure to deliver this information as detailed and as soon as possible. There is no better feeling than a speaker standing in front of your guests, giving them the most intriguing idea and materializing the purpose of your event through an excellent narration and professional performance.

Let the keynote know more about the audience. There is not always a homogenous group, so the performance must be creative to be relevant to everybody. The better you describe your audience, the more can your speaker customizes his/her speech. Is your event special in any given terms like: it is a charity, it is a corporate event, the speaker will talk open air? – Be sure to discuss this with all your speakers. You will avoid complications with equipment or speaker’s requirements contradicting the type of event too late do something about it.

When should the keynote perform?

If you have several speakers at your event, do not forget to let your keynote a bit more time to assure, s/he has enough space to deliver the message to your whole audience. Mostly, attendees can ask questions and discuss after hir/her keynote speech. Let people show their interest and get involved.

It does not matter, which exact order you pursue, but be sure that most visitors can attend this speech. If your conference starts on Friday evening, but many visitors can come only on Saturday morning, it would probably be better to wait and place the keynote speech on Saturday.

If this is not a case, your conference might start with the keynote, which opens the platform, communicates the purpose of the meeting, and motivates your audience. Alternatively, your speaker can close the event as well. Then the keynote’s mission is to summarize the final thought and motivate the audience to implement what they have discovered during the session. The audience leaves the event motivated and enthusiastic.

More than one keynote

Another possibility is to have a keynote speaker for each day of your event (in case your event takes more than one day). So you ensure that every day of the event will be equally important and exciting.

Plenary Speakers

There are of course many different names for ‘non-keynote speakers.’ The difference between Keynote and Seminar and Plenary speaker is not always equally significant. The differences for ‘non-keynote speakers’ are mostly subtle, sometimes two names mean the same thing, but since every event is a bit different, there is nothing 100%.

Plenary Speakers are speakers chosen mostly from the same corporation, association, or the same specific industry. These speakers are either keynotes or do another form of speech, like discussion or panel conference. All attendees are supposed to be present since the plenary speaker addresses the specific topic to the whole audience.

Invited Speakers

You might hear about Invited Speakers. Most commonly, the host explicitly invites this speaker. The talk the keynote gives depends on the area of his/her expertise. Since the host requests him/her, it is a reasonable manner, that all of the speaker’s costs are covered.

Contributed Speakers

Some of the events give space also to this kind of speaker. The contributed speaker is one that applies to her/himself. S/he might talk in parallel. Contributed speakers mostly speak about one specific topic, that is relevant only for a part of the audience.

Seminar Speaker

Seminar speakers are another type of non-keynote speaker. This kind focuses only on a subtopic-  that is more specific. Her/his talk might be relevant only for a part of the audience (if there are parallel talks, the audience can choose between different speeches). Seminar speakers often host seminars to get in direct contact with their audience – potential buyers. When being invited to someone else’s event, mostly their performance is free of charge. Those speakers are building their brand, sharing the ideas, and selling directly from the stage.

Mixed speakers

Of course, not all speakers exactly belong to some specific group. There might be many exceptions depending on the type of event, host’s requirements, or other conditions. Besides these two major groups, there are also speakers who do both. So the difference between Keynote and Seminar and Plenary Speakers do not exclude each other.

Mixed speakers combine a keynote speaker’s performance with several streams of their income. They might be fantastic keynote speakers who also offer books, products, or consulting related to the topic of their talks.

The mission of the speaker no matter the difference between Keynote and Seminar and Plenary speaker

There are mostly distinguished two types of speakers. It depends on what effect they should leave on their audience.

Motivational speakers

Motivational speakers talk more about efficiency. The most important is not what to do, but how to do that. Their initial ideas are about getting things done, increasing productivity, and mastering your job.

Inspirational speakers

Meanwhile, inspirational speakers talk more about effectiveness. Their mission is to encourage you to do things, you are scared of, or you have not even thought about at first. These speakers are the visionaries, who ask you the ‘what if’ question and bring you to doing. In the companies, these are excellent leaders who want everybody to pursue their vision.