Planning a conference and looking for conference speakers, or even a keynote speaker? Here are four expert tips to help you find the best conference speakers for your event.
There’s a huge difference between being an expert in your field, and being a brilliant speaker on your topic. So, if you’re starting your hunt for speakers, focus on proven inspirational speakers and people who already have a track record of great talks.
One place you can start, is to search Slideshare for keywords associated with your event. Not only can you get an idea of which presentations on that topic are the most popular (based on view count), but you’ll get a preview of a speaker’s talk, and how well (or otherwise) they present their knowledge.
Once you have a wish list of potential speakers, research them. Do they have YouTube videos of them talking? Do they have a solid reputation? How do they conduct themselves on social media? And, importantly, what kind of following do they have (if you pick popular speakers you’ll find it easier to attract exhibitors and attendees)?
As much as you want to secure trusted, experienced speakers who are well known among your audience, it can also help to throw in a wild card or two.
By ‘wild card’ we mean a speaker that your attendees may never have heard talk before, or someone who may present an alternative view of your conference theme.
Why? Because if your speakers are already well known, there is a chance that your attendees have heard them talk before, or are already more than familiar with their topic or expertise. But a brand new speaker, especially someone unusual, can be the difference between an attendee deciding to give your conference a miss, or making space for it in their diary.
An unusual or new speaker also makes your conference more newsworthy, and makes the task of promoting your conference that bit easier.
There are conference speakers, and there’s your keynote speaker. A keynote speaker is the person who gives the headline talk of your conference. They will give the talk that defines the aim or meaning of your conference.
This will usually involve you giving them a brief for their talk, and require research on their part to write an appropriate, bespoke talk for your conference.
So while it’s important to ensure all your speakers are right, it’s essential you choose the best keynote speaker for this role. And the secret of achieving this lies in your preparation. You need to be clear about:
Once you’re clear about all of this, you need to follow a similar section process as for all your speakers, but with the understanding that this role will come with extra responsibility, preparation and prestige.
When approaching potential speakers or a keynote speaker, make sure your pitch is carefully prepared. If they’re high profile, you’ll need convince them you’re the perfect platform to increase their professional reputation as much as assess whether they’re really right for your event.
Here are some important points to consider when approaching potential speakers or a keynote speaker: