Blog Newsroom Nordic Business Forum 2020 Speaker Contest 2020

How to Win the Speaker Contest

Submissions for our Speaker Contest close next week. Have you applied yet?

Our Speaker Contest is a fantastic opportunity for aspiring keynote speakers like you to speak at Nordic Business Forum in Helsinki and Oslo Business Forum in Oslo to 10,000+ business leaders. The presentation topics this year can relate to the Future of Work, Future of Marketing, or Disruptive Technologies for Business. The deadline to apply is 14 February.

To give you a little insight into what it’s like on our side of the table, we sat down with our executive producer Andreas Kustås, our speaker relations superstar Ville Saarikalle, and our co-founder Hans-Peter Siefen to ask them about their tips for prospective speakers. Read on and take the first step toward giving your professional career the boost it deserves by applying today!

Nordic Business Forum: To start, how did our 2019 Speaker Contest go from your perspectives?

Andreas Kustås: From my perspective it was a great success. To put things into perspective: the winner of the 2019 speaker contest got one of the highest audience ratings at Nordic Business Forum 2019 with 5.15/6 as the average. That is huge! For the first stage of the speaker contest we had applicants from 24 different countries – and so many invaluable lessons were learned from each and every one of the qualified speakers. We have to remember that in the end that is what the contest is all about.

Ville Saarikalle: It was an interesting development from the previous year: we had a younger and more diverse profile in 2019. I am hearing good news about how last year’s finalists are doing with their speaking careers. Of course, only one can win but at the end of the day the participants were happy that they decided to apply. I’m really pleased that the Speaker Contest is of value for many other participants too, not just the winner.

NBForum: Talk to us about the participants in particular. What surprised you the most about what they brought to the table?

Andreas Kustås: The level of the speakers never stops to impress and somewhat surprise me, and it was no different this time. For me the greatest value here is in the combination of high-level content and the way it inspires me. It’s motivating to see how all of these speakers would like to share their knowledge with the world.

Ville Saarikalle: Anssi’s (winner) presentation was really entertaining and remarkable. Priyanka Banerjee was also very surprising – such a powerhouse! Micael Hermansson was very well prepared and engaged with the audience. Bita Yazdani was philosophical and deep. To be honest, there were quite many talks which surprise me, and I loved it!

Hans-Peter Siefen: I was most surprised about the intensity and emotion in who got forward in the competition, what kind of evaluations they got and who ultimately won. The contestants were supercharged for their message to be the one which wins and gets presented to the Nordic Business Forum audience. That is how competitions are at their best – and we really seemed to reach that level.

NBForum: And the question on everyone’s minds… What advice would you give someone to give them the best shot at winning?

Ville Saarikalle: If you want to win you have to apply first. Please don’t think about winning too much but rather how to get to the qualifiers. When applying the video pitch is very, very important. We will go through lots of videos and that short video pitch is your opportunity to give us an idea of how you communicate and why we should hear more from you. No need to produce anything fancy but we need to hear you clearly and we must be able to watch the video. It’s all about your great insight and your ability to share it.

Andreas Kustås: I would recommend you to keep your focus on the right things: don’t worry too much about the technical quality of your application video, but rather focus on the content, the rhetorical aspect and how you can bring the most value to the NBForum audience. There will be business leaders and decision makers who are eager to get inspired and to learn new ways to develop their businesses. If you can bring implementable ideas and actionable tools to the speaker contest you are on the right track!

Hans-Peter Siefen: I would advise you to stop focusing too much on yourself or worrying about how you are on stage. Instead, focus on understanding the audience and the value you give to the audience through your speech. That is what we are mainly looking for.

About the Speaker Contest

Speaker Contest is Nordic Business Forum’s initiative to find individuals with fresh perspectives and management ideas and give them a platform to speak – it’s a way to crowdsource talent on an entirely new scale and bring to light some of the best that business has to offer. This year the contest is hosted together with Oslo Business Forum. The winner is offered a spot on stage both at Nordic Business Forum 2020 and Oslo Business Forum 2020 with a 50,000 € fee for the speaking engagement.

Are you interested in applying? Write your pitch, film your audition, and make your submission by 14 February.

Apply for the Speaker Contest >


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