What’s the secret of choosing a great after-dinner speaker? That means a speaker who skilfully navigates from thoughtful reflection on the year gone by to excitement about the challenges ahead, all served up with a good dollop of humour and entertainment leaving the audience feeling really good about life, plus giving them something to think about.
It felt like only yesterday I was writing about restarting after the summer break. Time seems to fly at this most busy time of year. Holidays are over and businesses are operating at full pace (or somewhere close to it). It may only be October but preparations for Christmas parties are well underway because finding the perfect after dinner speaker that suits your event is never easy.
Years of attending after dinner speeches has taught me that it is definitely the most difficult speech to deliver. But when you find the right speaker, whether you are planning a small dinner for clients or a big company event, the impact is tremendous, and people will also talk about it for months and months afterwards!
Back of an envelope and pen at the ready?
Here are questions to get you thinking:
1. Think of after dinner speakers you’ve heard speak and write down what you liked and what you didn’t. This 3-minute exercise is a good way of nailing the characteristics of the kind of speaker you want.
2. Who is your audience? What are they particularly interested in? For example, there are economists, business people, and sports pundits who can do humour and entertainment too and make for terrific after dinner speakers. Likewise, there are comedians and media personalities who can also cover the more serious territory of business.
3. What extra things has your company been trying to do this year? For example, if your company launched a Wellness Policy this year maybe an entertaining sports speakers would be a good fit? Also you could look for a speaker to endorse and amplify your efforts.
We have handpicked a number of after dinner speakers who have proven track records of delivering really excellent after dinner speeches.
David Mc Williams is hugely popular on the after dinner speaker circuit both in Ireland and internationally. His insights on all aspects of the economy, national and global, are both fascinating and entertaining in equal measure. I have heard David talk on numerous occasions. I always learn something new and go away thinking differently about how the economy and society function.
Keith Barry is very much a Christmas favourite. An event with Keith is always great fun and a great way of rounding off a hard year at work. The audience participation keeps everybody involved. Keith reveals to the audience how to tap into their subconscious minds to break through barriers. Also, he disrupts unhealthy thought patterns and shows how to exceed expectations both in their business and their personal lives.
If humour is top of your list then look no further than Oliver Callan. His impersonations of high-profile personalities makes for a memorable night. Check out some of his impersonations here.
Conor O’Shea is a personal favourite. Conor speaks about how to build high performing teams and is a very natural presenter. He always seems to hit the right notes no matter where he is speaking. Furthermore, his combination of humour and experience in both the worlds of sport and business make him perfect for the after dinner speaker slot.
Unusual in the world of rugby, Brent Pope speaks honestly and eloquently about his mental health issues, having suffered anxiety attacks for many years. Brent is an ex-New Zealand rugby player, broadcaster and author. Above all he is cheerful, easy-going and witty, and his talks focus on a mixture of wellness, team performance and lessons from sport.
Other popular after dinner speakers include Nigel Owens, Sean Fitzpatrick, Paul Mc Neive, Jason O’Callaghan, Ruby Wax, Jon Ronson and also Erin Fornoff.
Please do contact us with any queries you may have. We’d love to help you choose that after dinner speaker who is going to make your event truly memorable.