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Hire Keynote Speakers in UK: Comprehensive Guide

1st April 2024

Engage, inform, inspire! That’s what we expect from a great keynote speakers.

But offering the gig to the right public speaker is the first step to event success. For that, you must look for someone who keeps the crowd captivated, and gets laughter on witty anecdotes and attention as they deliver an important message that connects with the audience long after the event ends.

So, how’d you search for a guest speaker for hire in the UK? Here’s a 6-step guide on everything you need to know.

  • Know Your Needs

Before looking into speaker profiles, take a step back and understand your event’s core elements.  The theme is your roadmap to event planning. Is it a tech summit focused on innovation? A marketing conference seeking new trends? Let the theme guide your speaker selection. Imagine choosing a motivational speaker at a cybersecurity conference – it would be nothing more than a great recipe for disaster.

Next, know your listeners. Who are you trying to reach? Young entrepreneurs? Seasoned executives? Understanding their interests and knowledge base allows you to choose a speaker who rightly connects with them.  For a group of marketing professionals, a renowned social media expert might be a perfect fit, while a data scientist explaining the latest marketing analytics trends could be a more strategic choice depending on the specific conference agenda.

Finally, identify the event objective. Do you want to drive inspiration? Educate them on a new trend. These goals will help find the right type of speaker. An inspiring story of overcoming adversity could be ideal for a team-building event, while an industry leader with practical insights might be better for a business conference.

Apart from core needs, expertise and message alignment are crucial, consider the “wow” factor as well. Can the speaker bring a different perspective or experience to the table? Perhaps they’ve overcome a significant challenge in their field, or have a compelling personal story that resonates with your audience.

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  • Narrow Things Down

Bring more clarity to your approach by narrowing down the speaker chase by solidifying the logistics including event format, date, location and other logistics.

Location & Format

The first step is determining the event format – will it be held in person or virtually? This significantly impacts your speaker pool.  For an in-person event speaker needs to be physically present at the venue, while online events open up the possibility of hiring speakers anywhere in the world.

Speaker Slot in the Program

Knowing when in the program your speaker taking centre stage is crucial. Do you want a thought leader to deliver a keynote address, a motivational speaker to kick off the day, or a panel discussion in an interactive format?  The speaker’s placement in the program will help you select the best type of speaker to target.


Budgeting for a speaker’s fee is just as important as planning for other event essentials. Standard speaker fees in the UK range start from between £1,500 to £2,000 whereas famous celebrity-grade speakers may charge up to£100,000 and above speaking fees per hour in the UK. Event planners are often familiar with budgeting for various event expenses, but speaker fees might not be a regular line item.  Knowing your budget upfront will help you narrow down your options and find a speaker without overriding it.

  • Explore Your Options

Shortlisting, approaching, and booking the right keynote speaker in the UK may sound simple, but quite a daunting task in actuality. However, having the right resources makes it a lot easier to find someone who would command the room. Here are some ideas that will make your keynote speaker search quick and simple.

Speaker Bureaus

These agencies act as matchmakers, connecting event organisers with a vast network of pre-vetted speakers. Benefits include access to a diverse pool of talent, negotiation assistance on speaker fees, and streamlined communication. However, speaker bureaus typically charge commission fees, so factor that into your budget.

Professional Associations & Online Directories

Many professional associations maintain speaker directories within their specific industries. These can be a great resource to find experts who are highly qualified and understand the nuances of your target audience. Online directories also have hundreds of options as well.

While convenient, these resources might require more research on your part to verify speaker credentials and suitability.  Look for speaker profiles that include detailed biographies, past speaking engagements, and video clips if available.

Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms like LinkedIn are quite helpful in discovering talented speakers. Look for individuals/subject matter experts who actively participate in industry discussions, share thought leadership articles, or frequently speak at events.

Social media is like a portfolio for public speakers’ expertise, communication style, and even their personality. You can also join relevant groups on LinkedIn and Facebook or see X(Twitter) to see who industry leaders are following and engaging with.

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  • Assess Your Options

Once you’ve identified potential speakers and benchmark for your event’s success, it’s time to checkmark the rubric and shortlist.

Expertise & Credibility

Look for speakers with experience and a strong reputation in the chosen field. Check their past presentations, publications, and testimonials to validate. Look for awards or recognition from industry bodies, and if possible, try to connect with past event organisers who have hired the speaker to get their firsthand feedback.

Speaking Style & Stage Presence

A captivating speaker can transform your event. Look for someone comfortable on stage, with a clear and engaging voice. Videos of past presentations can be particularly helpful here. Do they exude confidence and passion? Can they connect with an audience and hold their attention? Some speakers rely on humour to engage the audience, while others may use storytelling or interactive elements. Consider which style would best suit your event and target audience.

Fees & Availability

Speaker fees vary widely depending on experience, demand, and event specifics. Established industry leaders will naturally command higher fees than emerging talents. Be prepared to discuss fees and explore potential negotiation strategies.

Early booking can sometimes lead to better rates, and some speakers may offer discounts for non-profit events or academic institutions. Also, confirm their availability on the event date in advance. Speaker schedules fill up quickly, so decide and reach quickly before it’s too late.

  • Alternative Speaker Options

While keynote speakers are a traditional event mainstay, consider some creative alternatives that might better suit your needs:

Panel Discussions

A panel of experts from diverse backgrounds offer a wider perspective on a particular topic. This format will bring lively debate and audience engagement.

Celebrity Appearances

A well-known figure from the entertainment or sports industry will help you attract more crowd and excitement. However, ensure the message delivery matches the event goal and target audience. For example, hiring an athlete as a keynote speaker for a fitness brand would be a relevant and inspiring way to communicate with the attendants.

Customer Storytellers

Featuring successful customers or clients who have benefited from your product or service can be a powerful way to showcase the real-world impact of your work. This approach can be particularly effective for business conferences or industry events.

  • Making Contact &Finalizing Details

Once you’ve chosen your speaker, it’s time to make contact professionally.

Inquire Formally with a Compelling Message

A well-drafted email with clearly outlined event details (theme, audience, goals), desired date, and budget will make a good first impression. Briefly mention why you believe the speaker would be a good fit for the event, and highlight any relevant aspects of their background or experience.

Negotiate Fees & Contracts

Speaker fees are usually negotiable, especially when you’re a non-profit organization. Negotiate rightly to discuss your offer and explore potential compromises.

Review the speaker’s contract and rider before signing them to understand the details like cancellation policies, travel arrangements, and technical requirements (e.g., audio-visual equipment).

A “rider” is an additional section in the contract that outlines the speaker’s specific needs, including dietary preferences, hotel accommodations, or transportation arrangements.

Summing Up

By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to hiring the perfect keynote speaker for your UK event. Remember, a great speaker takes your event from ordinary to extraordinary, leaving a lasting impression on your audience and attaining event objectives.

Looking for a Reliable Speaker Bureau with Impeccable Talent?

Kruger Cowne Speaker Bureau is your trusted partner for hiring keynote speakers in the UK. We understand the importance of finding the right speaker to achieve the desired outcomes.

We represent renowned and emerging speakers across various industries, ensuring we have the perfect fit for your specific event theme and target audience. From inspirational leaders like Shivvy Jervis to captivating business icons like Elle Macpherson, our speakers bring great knowledge, experience, and captivating stage presence to every engagement.

Contact Kruger Cowne today! We’ll Curate a Shortlist & ensure a Successful Event


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Please note: we are unable to assist with any charitable or personal requests for any of the talent featured on our website.