11 After Dinner Speakers Who Will Win Over Your Guests
It's 9:30pm, knives and forks are clattering as dinner draws to an end, and the restless chatter has started as guests at your conference or event look around for some entertainment to accompany their fourth glass of bubbly.
This is where an after dinner speaker steps in, ready to reinvigorate the room with humorous insights and stories that will win over attendees and leave them feeling like they've experienced that extra.special.something. Whether sports, adventure, politics, comedy, television, or top-level business, after dinner speakers can hail from all kinds of industries, which means that selecting the right after dinner speaker for your specific event and audience is vital.
To get you started, we've rounded up just some of our team's favourite after dinner speakers - only a small proportion of the individuals who we regularly recommend to our clients, with many incredible individuals on our website, and even more on our database. Just contact our friendly team of experts for advice about who would be ideal for your brief, and, in the meantime, check out the below:
Martin Bayfield – A favourite across the board, Martin Bayfield is a Former British Lions and England rugby player, a former policeman, and even starred as Hagrid's body-double in Harry Potter! It's not surprising, then, that he has a treasure trove full of brilliant quips and stories that make him an excellent after dinner speaker for all kinds of events. Adam, our Head of Account Management, recommends hims.
Meera Syal - Named one of the funniest acts in British comedy by The Observer, writer and actress Meera Syal (MBE and CBE) has brought her distinctive voice to the UK’s creative arts on hit shows such as BBC’s Goodness Gracious Me and Kumars at no.42. Lizzie from our marketing team comments, "She’s quick-witted, wry and very intelligent. She combines her personal experiences with what is going on in the world at a certain time, making her very relatable and current."
Ranulph Fiennes – Considered ‘The World’s Great Living Explorer’, the inspirational Sir Ranulph Fiennes has truly tested the limits of human endurance while breaking world records and leading legendary expeditions for over 2 decades. As expert account manager Debbie comments, "As an after dinner speaker, Ranulph provides a fascinating insight into his lifetime of incredible expeditions with a hilariously dry sense of humour. He also uses great photos to illustrate his points and captures the audience attention from start to finish."
Emily Maitlis – A familiar face in television news, Emily is a BBC News Channel anchor and part of the core Election presenting team where she covers all UK and US Elections. Her speeches are "always fascinating as she is so knowledgeable on a huge variety of topics – and she has interviewed nearly everyone! You just want to hear more and more!", says Debbie.
Clive Coleman - Another multi-talented master of a plethora of fields, Clive Coleman is not only the BBC's legal correspondent, but barrister, and comedy writer too. The dynamic and witty barrister is an accomplished conference chair and keynote speaker, his analytical outlook, and sharp intelligence enable him to expertly host and speak at all manner of events. Account manager Lucy B recommends him!
Alexis Conran - Alexis Conran, who starred in the Real Hustle, has turned the world of scamming into an entertaining art form - and his entertaining and educational style make him the perfect after dinner speaker. He was voted ITV's This Morning's 'Consumer Man' and is able to blend his knowledge of hustling and professional magician skills to offer business audiences an honest insight into the dark and deceptive world of scamming.
Michael Portillo - Charismatic and engaging, Michael Portillo has made the successful move from politics to TV and journalism, and is perhaps best known for five series of Great British Railway Journeys and two series of Great Continental Railway Journeys on BBC 2. As one client told us, "his speech is a perfect balance of humour and informed interesting comment - it's not easy to hold the audience's attention with political issues after 10pm but Michael managed it with aplomb!"
Steph McGovern – From the world of business, Steph is down to earth, professional, approachable and very funny! "Steph judges the audience in the room and pitches her speech perfectly to suite the audience size, profile, industry, etc.," says Debbie. Indeed, for over a decade, Steph has been one of the most recognisable faces on TV, reporting from the worlds of international business and finance, and is also a former champion Irish dancer, which means she has a host of anecdotes and experience to draw on.
Esther McVey - Formerly the Minister of State for Employment from 2013 – 2015, the Rt Hon Esther McVey is currently Chair of the British Transport Police Authority and is adept at entertaining audiences as after dinner speaker, using her unbelievably witty stories from her time in Westminister to get her audiences laughing.
Philip Collins – Before he became a novelist, academic, charity director and columnist for The Times - not to mention chief speech-writer to the UK prime minister in 2005-2007 - Philip Collins trained as an investment banker. As an after dinner speaker, he is extremely entertaining and perfectly placed to mix politics and humour. Debbie comments, "He is always happy to stay after his speech to answer questions and mingle with audience members. One client loved him so much, they booked him again straight away for next year’s event!"
Benedict Allen - Adventurer Benedict Allen has explored some of the world's most remote places without the aid of GPS or technological backup, but with careful planning. He imparts lessons learnt on his adventures through exciting and inspiring after dinner speeches, and is recommended by Head of Operations Rebecca.
For further information or to book a speaker, call us on +44 (0)20 7607 7070+44 (0)20 7607 7070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.