How to Attract the Best Speakers to Your Conference
Finding a keynote speaker that will create buzz and excitement around your upcoming event is no easy task. Big names are a challenge to book, and locating other qualified individuals is far too time consuming. With various details needing your attention and much planning and prepping to do, deciding where to begin may have you at a loss. Never fear, these 4 simple tips will help you attract top-notch talent to your next conference.
Focus on Ideas Rather than Individuals
Bestselling motivational author Seth Godin once said, “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.” It is important to make sure you are providing the people who attend your event with speakers that will be of interest to them, not just to you or your board, so be sure you’re doing just that.
Besides industry experts, there are celebrities, business moguls, former politicians, military leaders, etc. that are dedicated to various specific causes. A simple search online (including social media) can help you locate different persons of interest that may not have been on your radar, yet are an attractive draw to your guests.
For example, if your event focus is renewable energy, search for users on LinkedIn who list renewable energy, global warming and climate change as a cause they care about. You can easily review their profile recommendations, published works, and find links to related websites that contain footage of presentations they provided at other similar events.
Prominent Maltese physician Edward de Bono once said, “Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” By thinking outside of the box, you can find highly qualified, energized, enticing speakers that are passionate to be a part your program, even if they weren’t the first to come to mind.
Provide Advance Notice
Inviting with advanced notice (up to a year beforehand), while keeping the itinerary flexible to meet a speaker’s unique needs is of the utmost importance, especially if you are focused on attracting a prominent name. If you are rigid in your request, speakers—especially those with a following—may not be able to accommodate, even if they are interested in presenting at your event.
Make the Submissions Process Simple and Informative
While using an online submissions form can help streamline your search process, it is important to keep these things in mind:
Forms should be short and simple. Be sure forms are easy to understand and follow from the submitters standpoint, not just yours. Complicated, lengthy forms can confuse candidates, leaving many errors for your committees to sort through. If you keep the process simple for those submitting, the process will remain easy for those reviewing.
Candidates should always receive a copy of their submission. It is important the candidate receives a replica of their submission as receipt, not only as proof of entry, but as an opportunity to review should a technical error have occurred.
Keep candidates informed. Candidates should know where you are in the selection process as well as where they stand. Provide key dates for closing submissions and selections up front, while appropriately following up throughout the process. Once selections have been made, candidates should be notified.
Don’t be Generic. Please. Just Don’t.
Ensure speaker invitations are personalized rather than generic. With so many formatted email and correspondence templates, “Dear Professional Speaker,” is not going to cut it.
In Recommended for You: The Power of Personalization, Forbes states that, “Virtually all (96%) marketers agree that personalization advances customer relationships,” with eighty-eight percent saying, “…they’ve realized a measurable lift in business results from their personalization campaigns.”
Use social media to determine a speaker’s specific interests and professional history, recognizing their various accomplishments while making note of some fun-facts you may have learned. Let them know why you believe they will add value to your event, and follow up appropriately if you do not receive a response.
By thinking outside of the box and some efficient, personalized planning techniques, finding a speaker that will help enrich your next event will be a breeze.
In the words of Paul J. Meyer, “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”
To a successful conference!
Jiffy Events wants to help you find the best speakers for your event. If you would like to learn more about our speaker management, call-for-papers, and committee review tools—you can do so here.