Deciding on an interesting topic for an after-dinner speech at a corporate event is incredibly important, as the success or failure of the entire event can hinge on this decision. When choosing an after-dinner speaker, you need to ensure that they will be appropriate for the event you are planning and that the topic will resonate with your desired audience.

There are many topics that can be chosen as a subject for an after-dinner speech; however there are also themes that re-occur throughout most appropriate and relevant topics. The talk will be the lasting memory of the event and so must be able to inspire, motivate and entertain the audience. Selecting a topic for a speech will also help to determine the celebrity persona required.

Winston Churchill once said: “There are two things that are more difficult than making an after-dinner speech: climbing a wall which is leaning toward you and kissing a girl who is leaning away from you.” In straight-forward terms, it is quite a difficult task to get right, and one of the imperatives of this is to ensure that the topic matches the audience.

Sport is consistently one of the most popular topics to choose for an after-dinner speech, and there are now a wide number and variety of sporting celebrity speakers available. Because of this, you are now able to hear the achievements and personal experiences of Olympic athletes, swimmers and cyclists in person, as well as their thoughts on motivation that was needed to get to the top of their individual sport, despite possible difficulties such as wavering recognition, limited sponsorship and other setbacks.

Football, rugby and cricket players remain the most common sports speakers. This is in part a consequence of their regular exposure across the media, as well as the national pride and local fervour associated with them. Whether audiences wish to gain an insight into what life is like at the very top of the sporting world, or to understand the pressures associated with this type of career, a sports speaker – such as David Duckham or Sean Fitzpatrick, two excellent examples available on the MN2S talent roster – deliver these and more, with many more offering witty anecdotes and captivating charisma.

Many entrepreneurs also prove to be incredibly dedicated to, and passionate about, their businesses, and can also deeply inspire and motivate audiences. Expanding on the highs and lows of a person setting up, owning and running their own business in an often challenging economic climate provides practical insight into the problems that many budding entrepreneurial audience members may face. Whether or not these speakers are specifically related to your industry, many transferable teachings and ideas can inspire your audience and, by extension, foster a sense of pride within them for working for the company and reminding them of its achievements.  The attendees will leave with both a better understanding of your organisation and a firmer drive to make your business succeed.

In recent years, there has also been an increase in the demand for celebrity-chef speakers. This can be attributed to the plethora of cooking programmes and competitions that are now regularly shown on television. Guest speakers belonging to the culinary arts domain can often offer a frank, behind-the-scenes view of what it takes to work in a high-pressured and professional kitchen. The insight given by these celebrities concerning the competition within the industry as well the skill, hard work and determination required to thrive in it, makes for strong and inspiring motivational material.

As long as they have been around, people have always displayed a keen and almost obsessive interest in the music and television industries. If you’re looking for a behind-the-scenes insight into the processes behind film-making, creating reality television programmes or how one has established a highly successful career in an often erratic and capricious music industry, a celebrity speaker can provide this. Media-based speakers often have some of the most entertaining and surprising stories to tell, and their visit to your event could likely give your audience an unforgettable experience.

In conclusion, whatever topic is eventually decided upon, a great after-dinner speech should always try to display the following key components: humour, substance and compassion.

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