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Six Tips to Having a Great Virtual Motivational Speaker Experience

Virtual Keynote Speaker. Six Tips In Choosing the Right One | Summit

If you want your virtual event to have a sense of energy and excitement consider hiring a virtual motivational speaker. The right speaker can add motivation, inspiration, and energy to your virtual event but it’s important to choose well as not all great live speakers make great virtual presenters.

The following are six tips to help you make a great choice on an engaging virtual motivational speaker. 

1. Get Clear About Your Goal 

What is your goal in booking a virtual motivational speaker? 

A motivational speaking event can be used in many different ways and can accomplish many different outcomes for your event. For example, a speaker can be used as a tone-setting kick-off for your event, to introduce a theme and/or content, to get your audience into a certain mind-set, and/or to entertain, reward and energize your team. 

Why do you want to book a speaker? What do you want to accomplish? This will help guide you towards a speaker that can provide the value you are looking for in your event. 

2. Make Sure Your Motivational Speaker is Skilled in Virtual Delivery 

Not all speakers have made the transition to the virtual format well, but some have spent the time and energy to learn the technology and have adjusted or created a whole new presentation to fit a virtual platform and delivery format. 

You don’t need to have fancy virtual sets and multiple camera angles to have a high-quality virtual presentation, but the speaker does need to have at the least a high-quality camera and microphone and good lighting. It is a very different thing speaking to a camera and screen than speaking to a live audience. 

Slides with lots of content, words, or numbers can be difficult to see, read and follow. A virtual presentation needs to be uncluttered, bold and easy to follow. The speaker will need to provide variety and be engaging enough to keep your audience from turning off their camera and multi-tasking. Look for speaking samples both live and virtual.

3. Decide How Much Time You Have

Meeting, event, and conference schedules are often packed with content and overscheduled. Since virtual events are usually shorter than live events this makes time at even more of a premium. Be realistic in what you can accomplish given your time. 

Build in enough time for your speaker to do their best job. Speakers time allotments are frequently cut and the speaker must scramble through their content to make it fit. 

This does not benefit the speaker or your audience. If possible, check in with your speaker before your agenda gets too full and ask them what their ideal presentation time is.

4. Decide if You Want The Presentation to be One-way or Interactive 

As with an in-person presentation, your virtual presentation can be a one-way presentation or an interactive event. The one-way presentation is the traditional keynote style where the speaker gives their presentation on stage and then walks off as the conference and presentations continue. 

This is a great way to provide information and share stories and works well with larger audiences. In a virtual environment this style of presentation works well, but you can also build in interactive elements. If your group is not too large you can have an active back and forth conversation with your speaker. 

With a larger group questions can be presented through a moderator or via a chat or poll feature. You can also use breakout rooms to facilitate smaller learning conversations. There are lots of options. For either style of presentation you want to make sure your virtual platform has the features you will need to make it work at its best.

5. Choose Your Audience

As with any event you need to decide who will attend and what your approximate numbers will be. The virtual format allows you to bring together people from across the country and across the world. This does not mean you should invite everyone and anyone. 

The event should be important, relevant, and valuable to each participant. Having a smaller event provides a more intimate setting that can promote social interaction and a personal feel. A large event with many people can have immense energy and power. 

If you want your event to be interactive, then smaller may be better. Many virtual platforms have a limit to the number of people that can be hosted at one time and how many breakout rooms you can have. This can be overcome by setting up multiple virtual meetings, but the process can become complex and you might lose many people in the transition. 

For a large group a webinar virtual formal allows you to host an almost unlimited number of people, but there is little to no interaction ability.

6. Decide What Virtual Platform You Will Use and What Features You Will Need 

There are many virtual platforms available for your use. Zoom has exploded as probably the most popular and widely used online meeting tool in the world. However, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, Google Hangouts, Blue Jeans and many other virtual platforms offer similar services. 

You may have internal directives on which platforms you can use, but you will also want to look at the features available, as not all platforms offer the same things. Do you want breakout rooms and if so, how many will you need? Do you want to use features such as polling, chat, whiteboard? 

Do some research and discover what fits best for your event and what features your speakers will need or prefer as well.

Qualities to Look for in a Motivational Speaker

Not all motivational speakers are good virtual speakers. As with any speaker you want them to be an expert in their field and you want them to have a great screen presence which is different from stage presence. 

Beyond having a great story or content, virtual speakers need to be energetic and able to capture and keep the attention of your audience. Set up a zoom meeting with potential virtual speakers to test them out. Are they personable and energetic? 

RELATED: The Definitive Guide to Finding a Great Motivational Speaker

Are they comfortable on the platform you are hoping to use? Ask them to come to the meeting ready to present 1 or 2 slides from one of their keynotes so you get an idea of how they come across on screen. 

Ask them how they convey their information in a way that it can be captured, remembered, and applied. Are they open to interactive features?


One of the major lessons that we have learned throughout the pandemic is the importance of our relationships which start with our ability to connect with people. We are all keen to get back to in-person connection, but we are learning and growing in ways we can connect and engage in virtual settings. 

Highly engaging virtual events creates the possibility to strengthen relationships and good working relationships lay the foundation for growth and development of leaders, teams, and individuals. 

Putting together a virtual event or conference does not need to be complex, but whatever you do make sure you fill it with rich and engaging content. A great virtual motivational experience can help to elevate your event to another level of energy and engagement and can be something your team will not soon forget. 

We’re Here to Help!

Scott Kress, president of Summit Team Building has two very engaging stories based on his Everest  and South Pole expeditions. 

Both real life stories are adaptable to many relevant topics that teams face such as adversity, change, leadership, teamwork and more! Connect with a Summit team member to set up a time to explore Scott Kress in a zoom meet, ask some of the above questions and explore ways to make sure you’ll have an engaging and inspiring experience of having Scott speak at your next virtual event.

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