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9 Strategies to Finding Great Speakers for Your Events

Sophia MartinezMarketing Intern

Sophia Martinez,

Marketing Intern

Nov 29, 2019

Are you having trouble finding speakers for your events? Audiences want someone that is credible and trustworthy to relay them the information. Finding these types of speakers can be a daunting task with the amount of information out there. Speakers can be representative of your event and association and can be the most vital part of your event. These are some tips on how to find some great speakers for your next event.

1. Dive into social media

social media event branding

In this digital age, it’s not smart to forget about social media. Social media isn’t only for teenagers to post pictures with their friends. It’s also a tool for your association that can help you find and potentially hire speakers.

Social media can help you find speakers and decide whether their speaking style suits your event. If you have a speaker in mind, you may be able to find videos of prior speeches on YouTube. You can also check out TED Talk videos on YouTube and discover new speakers through this method. Other social media like LinkedIn can also help in the search, providing information on their prior experience and work history. These resources can provide insight into a speaker’s expertise in a topic and into their performance.

Once you find a speaker you’re interested in, you can follow up with a more thorough search on the internet. Check out their other platforms and reviews to see if they’re reliable and really up to par.

2. Use speaker websites

There are organizations that specialize in training professional speakers and connecting you with those who specialize in public speaking. Websites such as National Speakers Association, SpeakerHub, and BuzzSumo are all great resources for booking a speaker for your event. Users can search for a specific topic and will be provided with potential speakers along with their past work. There you can also see past events they have participated in and what they specialize in.

3. Pay attention to networking and referrals

event feedback

It can be easy to put real-life connections on the back-burner with the appeal of the internet and its plethora of resources right at your fingertips. Although online resources can be very helpful in your search for an event speaker, don’t forget about doing it the old fashioned way. Reach out to your network.

If you’re having trouble finding a speaker, don’t ignore the connections you’ve already made! These connections can serve as an invaluable resource when planning your next event. Also, don’t be afraid to ask friends and colleagues for recommendations. You never know where you’ll find your next speaker.

You can also cross-reference network recommendations with your own research. It doesn’t hurt to double-check their experience and credentials with an online search. This being said, you can combine the strategies on this list to ensure you’ve found the best speaker possible. Remember that whoever you choose as a speaker can be representative of your association as a whole. Don’t be afraid to do your research!

4. See how they interact with their audience

What is your event about? Who is your audience? Some audiences may react better to speakers who engage with the crowd while others may not. Some speakers may also not choose to stay after their speech to talk to the audience. These factors can influence how you may want the speaker to interact with your audience. The best speakers will have real life examples of failures and successes that the audience will be able to relate to. You can gain more attention and membership for your association depending on how your speaker performs so keep these questions in mind!

5. Reach out to your local Chamber of Commerce

Think of what your association has to offer to your members. Do your goals and mission align with something related to business in any way? If so, consider reaching out to your local Chamber of Commerce.

Many business owners join these organizations to increase visibility for their brand or area of business. Chambers of Commerce bring these businesses together and often host events for local businesses. Speakers they have hosted previously can have expertise in a topic that relates to your association’s interests. They could help provide contact information on past speakers who did a great job.

6. Ask what your audience wants to see

event room layouts

What does your audience want to get your event? What do they want to see more of at your events? Creating surveys can facilitate communicating with your audience and obtain the information you need. Participating in these forums, not only gives you a chance to learn and have questions answered, but also helps you identify a potential speaker for your upcoming event. Your attendees could also know or recommend people who would be great event speakers. This could later be implemented in your event marketing strategy to show potential attendees that the organizers are interesting to their attendees' recommendations and wants. Designing these forms can be easily made with websites such as Typeform and Survey Monkey.

Don’t forget that your audience’s opinions about your speaker matters. How they react to a speaker can result in new membership signups. So if you collect data that shows overall satisfaction in your event, try to replicate that. Or even better, improve upon your success.

7. Does their content connect with the goals of the event?

While having an amazing and entertaining speaker is great for keeping the audience interested, are you still able to get your message across? The best type of speakers will ask you what that a successful night looks like. Whether it be certain topics they should mention or how to keep the audience engaged. Your speakers need to be able to incorporate your event's goal into their speeches in order to make your event successful. Aligning those goals and tactics is the best way to have a successful event. Speakers should be able to deliver your message in a way that is unique to them and your audience won’t find elsewhere.

8. Think about events in the past that you have attended

While events provide an educational experience for attendees, it also opens many networking opportunities that can benefit your association. Other event planners probably put in a lot of work to find good speakers. Take advantage of their hard work for yourself and your upcoming event. If you’ve attended events in the past, you can attest to a speaker’s ability first hand. It also helps if you have established a connection with a potential speaker beforehand. With this in mind, as you continue to go to events, try to make connections with speakers since they can help you out with your own future events.

It can even get nitty-gritty with the exact layout of the vent space. How the speaker talks, the size of the audience, and more influence the layout of the event space and if you dont match it to the content being spoken, you may run the risk of bumming people out or outright upsetting audiences or speakers. Like forgetting to have a big enough screen for a space with lots of attendees, having the wrong table layout so people can't see the speaker adequately, and so on.

9. Who’s already influential in your field?

Experience and expertise can be great things to use to find a great speaker, but influence can be another quality to base speaker selection on. Take a look at your attendee lists, are there any names who have attended your events every year? Find those who attended your events and are very active and influential on social media, these people can often be great speakers. Try approaching them, they might be too shy to put themselves forward but clearly love your event and would like to share their experience with your audience. You can also try platforms such as Klout and PeerIndex + Brandwatch to help you find influential people on specific topics. Finding someone who is passionate about the topic will often have the potential to attract more attendees to your event.

Now to you

Use these tips to help you find a great speaker for your next event! As mentioned previously, using these tips in combination with one another can help you find the best speaker possible for your event, so don’t hesitate to do so. You can accomplish a lot for your event and association as a whole with a great speaker. With these tips, you should be able to find one that suits you and your member’s needs!

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