At JLA we often receive enquiries for after dinner speakers, whose job it is to entertain and enliven audiences (generally after three courses and a few bottles of wine). This is an underrated skill, and finding the right person to tackle a brief can cause a lot of headaches. In this blog I have put together a list of my favourite after dinner speakers, in a few handy categories from which an event manager might choose.
Climbing a mountain or crossing a desert does not make someone a good speaker (after dinner or otherwise). What it does do is provide the ingredients for some very exciting stories, and great after dinner speakers will be able gather these extraordinary tales at will to bring both humour and excitement to the table. Levison Wood is a great example of this, someone who has trekked the length of the Nile and the Himalayas, and this has made for both brilliant television and tales for any audience!
These are the speakers with stories coming out of their ears, finely tuned through retelling and ready to have audiences rolling around in their seats. One of the finest after dinner speakers is Gyles Brandreth, whose career has spanned politics, television and theatre. His store of anecdotes is unrivalled and he will pick and choose which to use depending on the audience, and can even tell you the 7 Secrets of Happiness. In terms of after dinner speakers, the raconteur is hard to beat.
With the current political landscape the rockiest it has been for decades, what better way to get your geopolitical update than through an after dinner speaker? An array of characters to quote, memorable events to unpick, and behind the scenes beans to be spilled, the political after dinner speakers have a lot of material to call on. Cathy Newman is one of the best around, a respected voice on Channel 4 News whose speech could include what is happening in Westminster, the dangers of live television and the real problem with Fake News.
We all have our favourite sporting occasions, whether it is Wimbledon, the Olympics or The Open, they all have speakers that can delight an audience. One of my favourite after dinner speakers is Nigel Owens, and he has been part of my favourite sporting occasion – the Rugby World Cup Final. There are some fabulous after dinner speakers who have delighted fans on the biggest stage, but Nigel is a real point of difference. He has won the respect of all involved in the game and combined fair rulings with humour and authority on the pitch – something he brings to the after dinner scene as well!
To book any of the above speakers, or any after dinner speakers, please contact us here.