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What is an After Dinner Speaker?

By Garry Crystal
Updated May 23, 2024
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An after dinner speaker is someone who is hired, usually for a fee, to entertain a group of people. The after dinner speaker will usually be the highlight of the evening. He or she is rather like the best man at a wedding, and is someone who is knowledgeable on a particular subject and can speak at length about it.

After dinner speaking can be seen as an art in itself. The speaker must have the ability to entertain their audience in a captivating manner. Part comedian, part lecturer, the after dinner speaker should have a certain "wow" factor. They should be someone that the audience or guests are looking forward to hearing and seeing.

After dinner speaking has become big business. It can be seen as a way of rewarding your company at an official lunch. They can also be brought in at a charity evening to help promote the charity. You can now hire speakers from all walks of life. Sports stars, celebrities, politicians, musicians and even mountain climbers are just a few of the types of after dinner speaker that can be hired.

If you have ever been a best man at a wedding or had to make a speech in front of a large number of people, you will know how daunting it is. The after dinner speaker will have gone through the process many times. They will have their talks and speeches honed to a fine art. Many have come from backgrounds where speaking in public is part of their everyday job.

The after dinner speaker will also have a number of tricks up their sleeves. They will know how to deal with hecklers in the audience. It takes either a very brave or a very drunk person to heckle a professional after dinner speaker. Many speakers will have a stock of comebacks and put downs for the heckler that will leave the heckler looking decidedly embarrassed.

An after dinner speaker will be able to tailor their speeches or stories to a particular audience. If a business is having a dinner, then the speaker may be someone who has achieved a degree of success in that field. A College dinner may have an ex student to speak who has since went on to achieve some recognized expertise that the current students aspire to.

Of course, not all after dinner speakers are celebrities or stars. People from all walks of life can add to the evening’s entertainment. The ability to entertain and hold an audience’s attention is one of the most important factors. Some people have this ability while talking in length just about their lives. But if you do require a celebrity or particular expert, be sure your budget can cover their asking price. A top of the range after dinner speaker can cost as much as 5,000 to 10,000 US dollars (USD) for a few hours.

PublicPeople is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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