Celebrity speaker, Kevin O’Leary at NYC corporate event

How to Book a Celebrity Speaker for Your NYC Event

corporate events
Top: Celebrity speaker, Kevin O’Leary presenting at a Tribeca Rooftop corporate event in New York City

An impressive speaker is a great addition to any corporate event, as it can draw large crowds and inspire conversations about the latest trends in your industry. Attracting a high-profile celebrity can make your event a high-profile success, but how do you go about getting their attention? Here are some tips to help you get an A-list speaker for your NYC corporate function.

1. Plan Ahead

Celebrities are busy people in high demand. Allow plenty of lead time by contacting your dream speaker well in advance of your event (Speaking coach Dr. Nick Morgan suggests allowing six months of lead time). It will also help if you’re flexible with your dates and are willing to work with the celebrity’s schedule to make things work. But even with advance notice and planning, be prepared with a list of alternate speakers to approach if your first-choice celebrity isn’t available.

2. Know Your Event Speaker Budget

You already know to reserve part of your budget for a speaker fee, but the bigger the celebrity, the bigger that fee will be. On top of an appearance fee, they may negotiate for you to pay for additional costs, including flight, hotel and meals. Many celebrities also provide a “rider”, or list of personal requirements at the event itself. Avoid disappointment early by doing your homework to ensure that your dream speaker is within your event’s budget. 

3. Research the Celebrity Speaker

You don’t want to waste a celebrity’s time (or have them waste yours), so make sure to spend some time researching them before you make contact. Celebrities are people too, and have interests and passions outside of their career, from hobbies to causes they’re passionate about. Make sure the speaker’s values are in line with your company’s - for example, it would be a major misstep to ask a dedicated vegan to speak at a meat industry conference. On the other hand, it will be easier to convince a celebrity to make time in their schedule for your event if they believe strongly in your company’s mission. Common ground can be a great start to a conversation with a celebrity.

Celebrity speaker for New York City corporate event

4. Go Through Proper Channels

Contacting a celebrity isn’t as simple as just calling their personal phone number. Most celebrities have representatives working for them, acting as a gatekeeper for all business negotiations. Some celebrities who do many speaker appearances work with a speaker’s bureau. Other times, you may be speaking to an agent or manager. If you’re especially fearless, you could try approaching a celebrity through their Instagram or Twitter account - these type of success stories can happen, but there’s certainly no guarantee you will reach the star themselves. In fact, be prepared not to meet the celeb at all until the day of your event, as organizational details may continue to go through their handlers.

5. Know Your Event Speaker Goals

Why do you want a celebrity to appear at your function? Glitz and glamour is fine, but the person’s appearance shouldn’t overshadow the goal of your event. Is the evening intended to raise money, entertain clients, or bring awareness to a cause? Consider how the speaker will be adding value to those goals. Ensure that you’re clear with the celebrity about their duties at the event – whether it’s to conduct a Q&A, attend a groundbreaking ceremony, or endorse a product. Your job doesn’t end once you’ve booked a celebrity, but after you’ve carried the event through to completion with them on board.

With these tips and a little preparation, you’ll be able to attract a high-profile celebrity speaker for your corporate event. The right speaker will provide a memorable contribution to the occasion, while moving your business forward at the same time. So, aim for the stars! If you’re planning a corporate event in New York City, Tribeca Rooftop’s team is available to answer any questions you might have about their NYC venue space.