Best Guest Speakers South Africa: 7 Keys to Smooth Running Conferences

While the best guest speakers in South Africa fulfil motivational, educational and/or entertainment roles, it’s important to make sure you hire the correct communicator or entertainer for the job.

Video trailer of a motivational guest speaker.

How the Best Guest Speakers in South Africa Empower Smooth Running Conferences

  1. Matchmake between your event objectives and expectations.
  2. Add dynamite keynote speeches to the agenda.
  3. Act as top MC’s.
  4. Showcase premium quality entertainment.
  5. Exemplify superior communication talent.
  6. Uphold professionalism and overall impression.
  7. Accommodate consultations and customisations.

The assignments of guest speakers in South Africa are many and varied. Of course, a thorough understanding of your objectives is required to make sure you get the right person for the conference or event.

The emphasis here lies in the word “guest”. Your selection of a guest speaker needs to emphasise that they are separate, different from your organisation. The best guest speakers in South Africa are there in their capacity amongst others as experts, role models or entertainers.

1. Best Guest Speakers in South Africa: Matchmake Between Your Objectives & Expectations

In a nutshell, guest speakers are a useful tool to be employed at corporate events. Like most tools, however, it is in the wielding that great results are obtained. When you are thinking about hiring the best guest speakers in South Africa for any regional occasions or overseas conferences, make sure you first have a thorough understanding of all the factors involved.

Keep in mind the audience make-up, your objectives of the event as a whole and what effect you hope to achieve by employing someone from the outside. These factors will combine to assist your selection and make the conference successful.

You will also save yourself plenty of time and effort by clarifying these issues in advance. Presented with a thorough briefing of this nature, a good booking or management agency will easily be able to recommend the best guest speakers in South Africa that can deliver on your objectives.

Don’t get carried away by big names and fancy ideas and remain committed to actual deliverables for your function and you will more likely achieve the desired effect.

2. Best Guest Speakers in South Africa: Add Dynamite Keynote Speeches

Top of the list is usually the keynote speakers. They would be the headline act, so to speak, of your conference and address an issue of great importance, unique interest or particular expertise. Therefore, they form the focus of an event and all activity might lead up to them. 

Ideal keynote speeches can include motivational speakers, economists, celebrities, top athletes and captains of industry.

The idea is to present someone with plenty of credibility and power that will make a lasting impression making your event desirable and memorable.

Your keynote guest speaker might be there to enlighten and motivate, but they also need to educate and entertain. Always look out for the visual aspect that the best guest speakers in South Africa should bring with them. As has been observed before, messages are always more readily received when accompanied by images and visual stimuli as well as audio.

And a really good presentation goes a long way to holding attention with an audience that may or may not be totally receptive to an outsider. In short, your guest speaker needs to be entertaining, informative and skilled, but mostly, needs to put on a show that will hold attention while imparting an important message to the audience.

Some of the easily recognisable traits of top guest speakers in South Africa are confidence, strong voices and the kind of accessibility that allows an audience to relate to them quickly and easily.

An expert in their field does not necessarily make a great guest speaker on that subject, as it is not so much the knowledge that they can impart which is important, as the ability to impart it.

It’s not unusual for the best guest speaker in a field to not necessarily be the biggest player or the most successful business person in that field. Rather it is their ability to transmit their knowledge that creates the demand for their talks.

As someone hiring the best guest speakers in South Africa, this needs to be taken into consideration when deciding on who you might need and to what end you hope to employ them.

3. Best Guest Speakers in South Africa: Act as Top MC’s

In another role, you might require an MC or “master of ceremonies” (also spelt “emcee”).

This is an individual who’s skilled in the smooth running and introducing a series of guest speakers and conference arrangements within a programme.

A great MC can often mean the difference between a smooth and efficiently transitioned programme or an embarrassingly bumpy and disjointed affair.

One clear example would be that of presenters not being kept on time and the agenda falling apart.

Masters of ceremonies or emcees makes no real presentation in their own right. They are able to introduce and conclude sections of the programme, picking up on what’s said and done and making off the cuff remarks to move the programme along in an upbeat fashion.

In some cases, the MC fulfil a more extensive role, also being a presenter. This is a speaker able to literally present the programme of events according to a script.

The list of permutations and roles of the best guest speakers in South Africa is a long and convoluted one. In essence as a client in need of a guest speaker, it is up to you to define the role that needs filling and shop for likely candidates to fulfil those functions.

Generally humorous and efficient, skilled MC’s are much in demand in order to give a high gloss of professionalism to events.

Some of the best guest speakers in South Africa also double-up as MC’s, sometimes at the same conference.

4. Showcase Premium Quality Entertainment

Depending on the nature of your event, you may well need a guest speaker in South Africa purely as entertainment.

In this case, you may be looking at a comedian or a celebrity that can relate anecdotal tales about life, business, politics, life on the red carpet etc.

But entertainment can take many forms and its best to make sure you have a firm idea of what is appropriate for your theme and audience for the event before selecting an entertainer.

5. Exemplify Superior Communication Talent

No matter their speciality, or indeed the audience vocation, the best guest speakers in South Africa are clear, understandable and approachable.

While in many cases, the objective of hosting them is part of a process of modifying behaviour or actions, this needs to be more subliminal or overt.

Motivational speakers, as an example, are essentially there to effect a change in the mindset of their audience, resulting hopefully in a change of behaviour.

However, you cannot set this up as a massive overt objective, or your audience will become resistant to the idea, no matter how skilled your booked communicator.

6. Uphold Professionalism & Overall Impression

No matter their intended function at the conference, the best guest speakers in South Africa are professional, appropriately dressed and highly competent. They are a reflection on the host and the organiser. As such, they need to be chosen with extreme care and deliver on several levels. However, the trick is to not surrender the overall quality of your conference to a guest speaker.

Your selection is of paramount importance, but if they are the only thing that’s of good quality and exhibits any levels of professionalism, all that will be remembered is them, and not you the host, coordinator or event itself. You might even stand in the glare of a very unfavourable contrast.

Don’t allow your conference and objectives to be overshadowed by anything than the overall excellence of the event as a whole.

Make sure the event is memorable.

The best guest speakers in South Africa may feature as highlights, but definitely not the only point of focus.

Go the extra mile in terms of location, décor and the programme itself, even on a shoestring budget. Creativity can create wonders.

The reaction and feedback of attendees will be the final word of whether or not the conference was a success.

Make sure all the detail is planned for and looked after, not only the selection of guests.

7. Best Guest Speakers in South Africa: Accommodate Consultations and Customisations

An important consideration to take into account is the willingness and availability of the guest speaker for a consultation and customisation of messages.

While many of the best guest speakers in South Africa will present the same presentation over and over, they pride themselves in their ability to tailor their general presentation to your own unique needs.

A good consultation well in advance of your event will give them enough time to research and prepare aspects of their talks that speak directly to your audience.

Lastly, remember that your guest speaker is just that: a guest. They should be treated as such, with hospitality, civility and planning. They should also not be put in the position where it appears that they are the most important thing going on and that your company or event is secondary to them.

Spend some time getting to know the names and specialities of the best guest speakers in South Africa available to you. No matter the situation, they can round off a good event by turning it into an excellent one.

External communicators or entertainers can be just about anyone that applies their trade in this field, depending on the nature of the event you are hosting and the intended effect or result of having a speaker. In fact, when you are thinking about inviting a guest to speak at a function, you could even consider your own staff!

Types of Guest Speakers in South Africa

We all know that big companies book guest speakers for their conference programs.

A program needs a wider substance to keep it moving. Having a guest speaker has been proven to be a great way to do that.

The best guest speakers in South Africa who work with corporates don’t have to be celebrities or similar “big names”. Instead, a usual example can be small business owners, mentors or even previous guests who visit the same seminar for the second time. They also tend to outsource their programs to e.g. top-tier comedians, actors or musicians, mostly for the purpose of disseminating information and entertainment from the stage as expedient as possible.

Here are examples of many types:

Professional Speakers

Unlike some presenters who dabble in the speaking world as a sideline to their primary careers, professional speakers either make their living from speaking fees or are very close to doing so.

The range of fees for professional guest speakers in South Africa varies depending on the individual’s experience, reputation, and topic.

They are paid to travel to various locations and present on a topic of their expertise. You see them emceeing conventions, speaking at business networking events, and presenting at corporate training sessions. Just like they would be for a public speaking gig, these types of guest speakers in South Africa custom tailor their presentations and have prepped multiple times in front of high-level executives.

Knowing their subject matter and industry inside-and-out, they can relate concepts, ideas, and anecdotes that help translate boring or complex information in a way that is readily understood.


These guest speakers in South Africa have been on a successful expedition – which means they have had all of their traditional support, as well as their own expertise, to navigate them through an unfamiliar and difficult environment. Sometimes, they have actually been to the summit of Mt. Everest, an interesting twist that provides yet another dimension to such presentations.

Adventurers include travel guides, explorers, and expedition leaders. The responsibilities of a particular adventurer will depend on his or her role as well as the employer’s specific needs regarding the given adventure.

Adventure is the place where the innermost feelings are stripped bare and people called to test themselves in an environment absent of the comforts we’ve come to expect.

Engaging in adventurous activities but also learn how to overcome fears and adapt to situations are what adventurers enjoy. They are sometimes known as modern explorers (having descended from our own historic past) as they are keen on experiencing the world, and by default, gain a better understanding of it.

As some of the best guest speakers in South Africa, their thrilling stories are told around the world at global events. They take you on their journeys through uncharted territories and share the life skills needed to take risks and succeed in your own life (courage, bravery and excitement).

Talking about a special breed who set out and push themselves to the limit and beyond. Some have done mind-boggling, jaw-dropping, adrenaline-pumping things.


A typical panellist conducts a short talk, and after that takes part in the roundtable discussion. If there is over one guest speaker, they will have to agree beforehand on what each person will speak about.

There is a difference between the two types of panels – moderated and unmoderated.

Industry panellists often discuss trends and topics surrounding the organisation, while host panellists discuss the organisation itself.

Panels in the form of the best guest speakers in South Africa can be icebreakers for a conference. They give a solid taste of what an event is about, make delegates feel more comfortable in their surroundings and help them get some quick answers to questions that have been on their minds – whether it’s a non-scripted, moderated interview, or a debate-style Q&A.

Masters of Ceremonies

A master of ceremonies, also known as an emcee (MC) or compère is the official host of a ceremony, banquet or similar large formal gathering.

The emcee is tasked with keeping the program running smoothly and making sure that it stays within any allotted time frame.

It might be an intimidating task, but even small businesses can step up and have an emcee host their next big event.

The task of these guest speakers in South Africa is to keep the program running on time and introduce the presenters or entertainers once it’s their turn. They can also moderate panel discussions, ensuring that all questions are answered before moving on to the next.

Usually, an MC has a card that lists all the presentations and schedule adjustments for other segments of the program (goodie bags, lunch breaks, orators etc.). That way, he or she can also tell the audience when the time has elapsed and what comes next.

A master of ceremonies is to introduce presenters/delegates, give a short introduction to the conference, and entertain the audience while remaining completely in control.

They can perform a number of administrative tasks, from organizing the seating chart and securing the refreshments to setting up the AV equipment and testing it before the event starts. Every year, countless hours of time are wasted simply because of latecomers and delays in the schedule.

To make sure presentations start on time and that no one misses any, you need the means to communicate to everyone when the schedule kicks off every day.

The master of ceremonies (often abbreviated as M.C.) at business conferences is basically the same thing as an emcee. As guest speakers in South Africa, they are there to keep everything running according to schedule, introduce the presenters, and make sure everybody stays on-message during their presentation.

The Master of Ceremonies will also manage unexpected situations that may occur during the event, such as a technical glitch or an absent presenter.


The best comedians at corporate gigs are expertly trained in getting people to interact, think differently, and awesome at making others laugh in an organic way. Hiring comedy performers as guest speakers in South Africa for conference entertainment has become a favourite activity for many corporations.

There are many reasons a company wants to get the services of a funny comedian. For instance, the event can be organized to launch a new product or celebrate the anniversary of the enterprise.

Such events need to have special entertainment that will break all the monotony and surprise everyone.

At many company conferences, laughter is given a high priority to help get people in a good mood and loosen things up.

Getting the audience to laugh a bit, rectify the atmosphere after any preceding stale and dull presentations.


It’s no secret that employees, and especially potential customers of a company, gain a lot of inspiration from athletes. The strength, stamina, and drive they carry in their bones is something others can’t help but admire.

When companies book an endurance or extreme athlete as some of the best guest speakers in South Africa, it is the fact that athletes can use their stories, experiences and successes to reinforce an applicable corporate aim.

They are brought in to draw parallels between successful athletics and how attendees can incorporate the same traits into their approach to work.

The lives of athletes are unique. Many times, they don’t fit into the “regular” world of 9-5. Having a pro-athlete speak at a meeting helps to give attendees a different perspective on how chasing their own goals are possible.

Endurance athletes make for compelling speakers. Having completed a triathlon, marathon, or ultramarathon, they touch groups in ways that others can’t. Extreme sports are the domain of only a few daredevils.


For business conferences, economists are usually invited to speak about economic growth and how companies can take advantage. The expertise on business trends can help companies plan their marketing and business strategies.

Economists are specialists in analysing the economy through mathematical models and other means.

As such, these guest speakers in South Africa play an important role in forecasting future states.