The success of any event will depend largely on how you plan it, including which speakers you choose. If you want a good turnout, prioritize the content you are offering by getting not just good, but the best speakers.
A speaker’s job is not just to entertain, but also to connect with the audience. So you need to get the kind of speakers who can do that. Here are 10 tips for sourcing the best speakers for your next company event:
1. Plan the Venue Right
Part of your logistics should be ensuring that the venue is a good fit not just for your audience, but also for your speakers. When you choose a place that is known for its accessibility and great amenities, this can attract the speakers you want to have. Getting them to collaborate with you may take some luring, so start with the venue you have chosen for your event.
2. Hire Influential and Experienced Speakers
Whether this is your first or fortieth conference or event to put together, remember that your audience is coming to get something unique out of it. They’ll likely only listen to people who really know their topic. So how do you find thought leaders?
Cyberspace is a good place to start. Look online for the speakers who are already leaders in your niche. Keep in mind that for some of them, you will need a considerable budget.
3. Think Outside the Box
Not all influencers are stage speakers. You may find great influencers online who have podcasts or blogs, or book authors who do not usually give speeches.
Wherever your audience is looking, look there. Use search engines to find the topic of interest that you need covered. Track down the people who are influential in these fields, and invite them to give a speech.
For some novice speakers, perhaps the opportunity to travel and expand their own audience will be enough to attract them to your event.
4. Try Social Media Leads
LinkedIn Groups or Quora threads may lead you to those who are already answering questions that your potential audience has. They will certainly have more to say on the subject, and a stage may be appealing for them. Use social media to connect with them, or to get references and referrals of those influencers you need.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Speakers
If you have been running your event for several years, do you notice some attendees who never fail to show up? You may use this as an opportunity to give them something to say on the topic. Many people are flattered when asked to speak on a subject they are passionate about. After all, most event attendees are there to hear shared ideas, not necessarily the speakers themselves.
In the digital search space, BlueNod is a free tool you can use to fund those who are hashtagging certain topics, so you can find out what’s trending and who’s talking about it.
There are many places online you can go to find the best speakers for your event. One such website is Speaker Match, where you can post requests for speakers. Check out thousands of profiles to screen the ones you think are a good fit for your event.
6. Put a Call Out Online
Months prior to your event, you can always put out a call out for speakers in your area. Find those who bring something unique to the conversation, and those whom you feel a genuine connection with.
Remember to always screen speakers if you are putting them on stage for the first time. You should have protocols for this in place.
7. Look for Certified Resources
The National Speakers Association is where you can find professional public speakers. Use the directory to sort through and search for those who can bring both entertainment and substance to your event. Toastmasters International also has clubs around the world dedicated to the art of public speaking and leadership skills.
8. Check Nonprofits for Speakers
Many passionate people who are already changing the world with not just ideas, but actions, work for nonprofits. Even if those you find are not public speakers, they often come with unique experience and perspective. Your audience may love hearing their stories and getting to know about the nonprofits they represent. Having these speakers at your event will definitely boost your content value.
9. Search for Speakers at Your Local University
Educational institutions are a gold mine for finding great speakers. Professors are already trained and skilled communicators, and they don’t just speak; they teach and educate people. If you can find professors who have time to come and give a talk at your conference, you’ll have expert speakers with proper knowledge doing the talking.
10. Use Your Personal Network
Lastly, don’t forget the power of your personal network. Who among your friends and colleagues is also passionate about your topics? Use technology to keep connected to them; network efficiently and stay in touch with those who will be an asset to you in the future.
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