Sourcing speakers for your events isn’t always easy. Even if you know exactly who you want to speak, there’s no guarantee that they’ll be available or that they’ll accept your offer. You also have to think about everything from budgeting to the kinds of technology that they’re likely to need.
The good news is that help is at hand. We’ve got plenty of experience when it comes to setting up events and booking speakers to talk at them, and we’re going to use this article to share just a few of our top tips.
Here’s how to source speakers for your next event.
1. Ask for Referrals
Never underestimate the power of a referral from your network. If you announce that you’re looking for speakers and ask people if they have any recommendations, you might just be surprised by what they come back with. The good thing about asking for referrals is that people will often also give you an introduction, which can help to break the ice and establish a dialogue. You also tap into the phenomenon of social proof that’s so important when we read reviews online or ask our friends for restaurant recommendations.
2. Look on LinkedIn
This builds on the last point, because you can look at people who are in your extended network and ask them for introductions to people. LinkedIn also has a bunch of filters that are designed to make it super easy for you to find the people you’re looking for. You can even consider going the extra mile by running ads to encourage people to submit a pitch for your event.
3. Ask Your Clients
Asking clients to speak at your events can work well because it can foster the relationship between you and potentially give something back to them, especially if the speaking engagement leads to new business for them. Even if your clients themselves aren’t interested in speaking at your event, they might be able to give you a referral.
4. Check Out Other Events
Another great way to look for speakers is to attend both on- and offline events and keep an eye on who’s speaking at them. You might just find the perfect person to come and speak at one of your own events, and anyway it’s also a great way to keep an eye on what the competition is up to. This is also helpful for coming up with panel topics, or to select subject matters for your speakers to focus on.
5. Use SpeakerHub
Given that our site is all about helping people to find the perfect speaker for events, we’d be remiss if we didn’t give ourselves a little shout out. One of the good things about SpeakerHub is that we don’t charge a commission fee, which makes it a no risk way to find speakers by searching on topic, speaker, location and more.
6. Look at Professional Associations
There are tons of professional associations out there for all sorts of different disciplines, from construction to digital marketing. Look into which organizations are most applicable to the topics that you wish to cover, and reach out to see if they have any recommendations. Even if they can’t speak from the experience of putting on events of their own, they’re likely to have information on members that you could reach out to, or even a mailing list that you can use.
7. Ask attendees
You’ll have to be careful how you approach this one, because you don’t want people who’ve booked a ticket thinking that you have no idea who’s going to be there. With that said, if you’re running an annual event then you can ask attendees for their feedback on who they’d like to see next year, and if you have a shortlist of potential guests, then you can always put it to a vote.
8. Ask the Venue
This one might be stretching it a bit, but it really depends upon the type of venue that you’re working with. If they often host similar events, then they might have some contacts that you can tap into. For example, if you’re hosting a writing event at a nearby arts center, the chances are that they know plenty of writers that you can get in touch with. If you’re hosting a sales summit at the function room of a sports stadium, you might be out of luck.
9. Look at Authors
On the subject of writers, you can also take a look at which authors in your industry have had new book releases. Investigate both those who have new releases coming up and those who’ve published a book in the last twelve months or so. The chances are that they’ll be more than happy to take on a speaking engagement to promote their book, and they also have a ready-made topic because they can just talk about the main arguments at the heart of their book.
10. Do it Yourself
This might seem like a bad idea to begin with, especially if you have no prior experience of public speaking, but hear us out. If you’re arranging an event, then there’s a good chance that you have the appropriate subject matter expertise, and you can learn to be a good speaker, especially if you have some time to practice. You can always keep this as a backup and go with it if your search is unsuccessful – although with these tips, you should normally be covered.
Now that you know just a little more about sourcing speakers for your next event, it’s over to you so that you can put what you’ve learned today into practice. When you start planning your next event, try using these sources to reach out to potential speakers.
We’d love to hear how you get on, so be sure to come back and to let us know. Let’s keep the discussion going, leave us a comment and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!