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A Brief Guide to After Dinner Speakers

DBA Speakers©  http://www.dbaspeakers.comThere’s no doubt that an after dinner speaker can play a major part in the success (or otherwise) of an event. But often it’s one of the final details to be agreed. So why do event planners leave this till last? Could it be that the variety of speakers available is simply baffling? There are many different types of after dinner speakers including the traditional, the comedian, the maverick, the celebrity, the sports star and the professional speaker. Choosing the right one and making sure they are briefed correctly can transform your event.

You may have your own contacts but using a professional speaker bureau offers a well-informed choice, backed up by years of experience. The best bureaux take time to listen to speakers in person and they should be able to offer first-hand knowledge of which speakers would suit your event. It’s a mistake to think that just because someone appears on a TV reality show, or scores goals for a football team, that they will automatically hold the attention of your guests.

These days, most corporate clients don’t simply want gags. They know that an intelligent audience wants a blend of entertainment and enjoyment whilst communicating a company message, however subtle that may be. Some types of speakers are better suited to certain types of events than others and, again, a good bureau should be able to advise.

Awards events are an increasingly large part of the corporate portfolio. It’s a mistake to assume that every speaker will automatically be happy to host an awards event or indeed be any good at it. Having two awards hosts can work, so long as their inter-personal chemistry works on stage, and that they like each other! Sometimes, thinking outside the box produces excellent results. Inviting a leading international impressionist will give you not just one celebrity to announce the award winners, but many. Awards events need to be memorable for all your guests, not just those who win.

An increasingly popular trend is to invite the speaker to give their speech before dinner is served. Guests will have enjoyed the drinks reception and be seated at their dining tables in a relaxed and convivial atmosphere listening to a well-prepared speaker who is interesting, entertaining and relevant. Dinner is then served and conversation flows more easily between guests who otherwise may have little in common.

After dinner speakers come from very diverse backgrounds. Some of the best currently include rugby star Gareth Chilcott, former Head of MI5 Stella Rimington, the talented Frances Edmonds, impressionist Steve Nallon, former Speaker of the House of Commons Betty Boothroyd, Andrew Neil, Michael Portillo, Sandi Toksvig and William Hague.

Some speakers are chosen for their knowledge of a particular topic. Examples include Patrick Cordingley on Leadership, Rageh Omaar on current and international affairs, Pen Hadow on achievement and Jeff Grout on successful teams.

With so much invested in corporate dinners and awards (in terms of both time and money), it makes sense to get the details right.

This article was kindly contributed by Diana Boulter of who provide After Dinner Speakers for corporate events and private occasions.
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