Dinner party speakers should be able to offer a wide range of different speeches for various occasions and audiences. Finding the right speaker means understanding the particular context of an event, whether it is a more corporate, formal gathering or a celebration. Good speakers should also demonstrate the right mixture of entertainment and authority, and should strike the right tone for an audience.

Knowing an audience is therefore crucial when booking a speaker. Some of the best speakers will include comedians, experienced hosts, sportspeople, businesspeople and entrepreneurs, experts and motivational speakers with a military background. Experienced speakers will also be able to understand a brief and an audience, and will be able to adjust their act to a specific audience. Some recommended choices for speakers include:

1 – Comedians

Able to create a relaxed atmosphere, standup comedians can be everything from satirists to observational and gag comedians able to create audience involvement. It is important to pick a comedian who will be right for the event, particularly if they’re going to pick on members of the audience. In many cases a comedian’s act can be checked and discussed beforehand in order to make sure that you are comfortable with it, and they know what to expect.

2 – Experienced Hosts

There are many different speakers that are able to extend their talents as presenters and hosts. Newsreaders can share anecdotes, while hosts and interviewers will know how to get an audience involved and start up a discussions. Examples of successful after dinner speakers in the UK include Jeremy Vine, Will Self, and John Simpson.

3 – Sportspeople

Ideal for motivational talks, sportspeople can deliver talks on a range of subjects. Olympic athletes like Denise Lewis and Sally Gunnell can provide accounts of their training and major events, while sports presenters like Clare Balding and Kirsty Gallacher are able to discuss their experience and stories. Demand for sports speakers is expected to be higher than ever in 2012 as the result of the London Olympics and the European Championships.

4 – Entrepreneurs

One of the best options for a corporate event is to hire speakers with business expertise and success, in the sense that they are able to offer advice and the opportunity to answer questions about their careers. Successful examples include Karen Brady and Duncan Bannatyne.

5 – Experts

For larger events and longer speeches, it is worth considering figures with world leading expertise in a particular area. Politicians like John Prescott and Paddy Ashdown represent great value in this regard, as do life strategy and coaching experts like Paul McGee. Other speakers might include figures from economics and academia, who are able to speak entertainingly about current issues and debates.

6 – Motivational Speakers with a Military Background

Authors and former servicemen are often popular choices for dinner speaking, as they often have great anecdotes and motivational advice for audiences. Figures like Chris Ryan and Andy McNab, who also have careers as authors and journalists, are particularly strong at being able to work with a number of audiences.

Patrick Hegarty is a professional blogger with a keen interest in motivational speaking and after dinner speakers.

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