5 Things to Look for in Your Search for an Innovation Speaker


December 19, 2023

Have you ever listened to an expert that’s all hat, but no cattle? They talk a good game, but at the end of the day, don’t actually do the work. 

For an innovation keynote speaker to truly have impact, they need to be more than just words. They need to have certain characteristics that set them apart.

Look for a speaker that’s much more than a speaker. Following is a list of criteria to help you find just the right person for your event. 

1. Established speaker 

When you’re on the hunt for a keynote innovation speaker, it’s tempting to be swayed by flashy presentations or trendy topics. But take a step back and think about the foundation: experience. 

An established speaker brings more to the table than just a rehearsed speech. They’ve been in the game for a while, speaking at various events, facing diverse audiences, and fine-tuning their message so it resonates with what matters to your audience the most.

Having an expert who knows what they’re talking about at your event is like inviting a seasoned chef to your dinner party. They know the ingredients, they’ve mastered the techniques, and they can whip up a dish that leaves everyone hungry for more. 

An established speaker in the world of innovation knows how to:

  1. Inspire by sharing personal examples of success
  2. Motivate with practical steps for self-improvement 
  3. Entertain with concise, relatable stories
  4. Educate with content backed by real-deal facts
Graphic shows 4 key characteristics of a great keynote speaker

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Speakers of this caliber also have an enviable reputation. When you announce an established speaker, attendees get excited because they know they’re going to get a certain level of quality and expertise. It’s not just about talking the talk. People want to know that the speaker has real-life, hands-on experience in doing what they talk about. They’ve been there, done that, and have the stories to prove it.

As you sift through speakers who might be a good fit for your next event, look for someone who has a history of adding their own personality and that it’s one that’s entertaining on top of educational. Because it’s not just about the talk, but rather the experience, the insights, and the lasting impact they can offer.

2. Has hands-on experience with innovation 

Think about if you listened to someone talk about swimming without ever having taken a dip in the pool. 

The same goes for speakers who talk about innovation but haven’t actually done the work. It’s one thing to read about innovative techniques, but quite another for them to have rolled up their sleeves and dived into the process.

A speaker with hands-on experience in innovation isn’t just repackaging and reporting third-party facts or theories they’ve picked up from books. They’re sharing real-life stories, unpacking the challenges they’ve worked with with their clients, and revealing the big A-HA of breakthrough moments. 

3. Proven track record of success 

Icon shows graph to represent increasing success

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We’ve all heard the saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” 

In the world of public speaking, this couldn’t be truer. When you get down to the final few, look beyond the words a speaker speaks, and dive into what they’ve accomplished. What clients have they worked with? What results have they delivered? And who would sing their praises like a canary on caffeine? 

As you look for potential speakers, make sure to dig deeper. Hiring someone who has an entire body of work outside of just speaking adds credibility to their message and inspires your audience to chase their own success.

4. Conducts on-going original research 

Ever sat through a presentation and thought, “I’ve heard this before”? 

In a world overflowing with information and regurgitated facts, a fist full of figures gets stale fast. Look for someone who’s actually doing the research, not reporting second-hand what’s already been done. 

As you keep your eye out for the right voice for your event, give some extra time to speakers who lead how people think about the entire subject. Look for innovation champions who challenge how people think now, show them a new way of looking at the world, share their own research, frameworks, and processes, and talk about the impact they’re had for the leaders and companies they’ve worked for.  

5. Testimonials from event organizers and attendees about lasting impact

Graphic shows laptop with keynote speaker to represent positive testimonials and reviews

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Imagine you’re online shopping and you come across two options. One has glowing reviews from oodles of buyers, but the other doesn’t have a single star. Which one do you trust more? 

The same five-star endorsement applies when you’re looking for a speaker. Would you go for the one who has racked up testimonials from clients who are over-the-moon happy? Or the one who doesn’t have a single endorsement?

It’s like how the old saying goes: It’s not what you say about yourself that matters, it’s what others say about you that has an impact. 

When event organizers and attendees rave about a speaker’s lasting impact, it’s a clear sign that their message wasn’t just a nice warm feeling for a while–a cozy blanket can do that. It means that they truly inspired the audience to think differently and then showed them the path to create lasting change. 

These testimonials are more than just praises. They’re stories of transformation. They highlight moments of inspiration, shifts in perspective, and even actionable takeaways that’ve made a difference in people’s lives. 

Don’t just take a speaker’s word for it. Dive into the testimonials. Listen to the voices of those who’ve been in the audience before. Their insights will give you a glimpse into the lasting impact a speaker can bring to your event, making sure your audience walks away inspired and ready to sign up for your event next year.

Find the right innovation keynote speaker today

Finding the right speaker on innovation is more than just ticking boxes. It’s about finding a voice that resonates, inspires, and leaves a lasting impression. 

As you look for a speaker, remember to look for people who have the experience, success stories, fresh insights, and genuine passion to share their message with the world and make an impact. The right expert can transform an event from ordinary to extraordinary.

Ready to unlock your next great idea? As the world’s leading Innovation Architect, I can help. Read more on my blog page now, or email me today to learn how to nurture creative thinking.

About Carla

Carla Johnson Innovation Creativity Speaker Author

Carla Johnson helps leaders who are often paralyzed by traditional thinking. They suffer from slow growth, an eroding competitive advantage, low employee engagement, and depleted investor confidence. Their teams lack purpose and progress and constantly battle a resistance to change and new ideas.

As the world’s leading innovation architect, Carla’s spent 20 years helping leaders shatter limits and discover undiscovered possibilities. Through years of research, she’s developed a simple, scalable 5-step process that teaches people how to consistently produce inspired ideas that lead to uncommon outcomes.