What is the best time to speak at a conference?

What is the best time to speak at a conference? I want to give our headline sponsor the best speaking slot, what time do you reckon this is? I know the worst slot is the last one of the day. So for a 9-5 conference, would the best slot be first thing? Are people distracted by emails first thing? What about before lunch? Or are they thinking about what to have for lunch? We generally have hourly slots, so would appreciate any advise on this!

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Opening a conference usually offer kudos however there are a couple of options:

  1. Keynote following the welcome address
  2. Keynote for each theme
  3. Afternoon keynote
  4. Dinner keynote (if there’s an activity between day 1 & day 2 etc.)

You could also try ‘An audience with’ and offer an exclusive/private audience that either

  1. the sponsor can specify who can attend
  2. can be ‘sold’ as a FOMO limited availability thing
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At a recent conference, we had our featured speaker give her address after the “introduction/welcome” speech. As long as the opening remarks give people enough time to get settled in (10-15min, depending on the size of the crowd?), the featured speaking slot will gather the most of the audience’s attention.

Also, assuming there would be a break after the highlighted speaker, it would give the attendees a chance to digest the info while walking around and getting coffee/tea/refreshments.

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