A great speaker at an event can help boost attendance, engage attendees, spark interest in your association, and even increase membership. Think of the speaker as the main attraction at a party — they’re what attendees show up for.
Booking a quality speaker can be simple and satisfying if you know where to look and what to look for. Whether you’re looking to book a speaker for your panel discussion, seminar, full-day workshop, conference session, or webinar, here’s what to consider when looking for an association event speaker.
Seek Out Association Recommendations
Who knows your key audience, objectives, and goals better than your staff and members? Tap into your association for possible speakers. You might find that someone currently belonging to your association is actually the best person to speak at an event, and can make a better connection with attendees than a stranger would.
Network at Other Conferences or Similar Events
Build your network of event speakers by networking at conferences of similar organizations. Make connections with speakers who impress you and exchange information. Even if they aren’t the perfect fit for what you’re looking for, they may have their own recommendations.
Look Back at More Successful Events
Look back at your association’s past events. What made the speaker particularly memorable or successful? Use these elements to create a list of what is essential moving forward for future speakers. You can also contact past speakers for another conference, or to see if they have similar associates who would be great for the job.
Check Out Speakers Bureaus
Speakers bureaus are an excellent resource that will help you find the perfect speaker for any event. The National Speakers Bureau is one of the most successful bureaus, allowing you to search by industry, topic, or speaker, as well as featuring a wide selection of curated speakers on their homepage.
Poll Your Members
Use your social media profiles or mailing list to send out a poll or short survey and collect feedback from your members. Ask questions about what types of speakers would appeal to your members, or if they have any memorable experiences at other events that could help you plan yours. Leave some questions open-ended so that your members can recommend certain speakers — with enough responses, you can create a backlog of speaker ideas for future events.