Recently a friend of mine asked me how she would go about booking a speaker for an event. Although resources came easily to me, she was completely overwhelmed at the task ahead of her, yet appreciative of the information that I gave to her. If you find yourself between a rock and a hard place, looking for a speaker for your event, use these tips to help you find the perfect fit:

Speaker Bureaus & Associations

There are many organizations out there that make it their duty to find you the perfect speaker. Some focus on the recognizable celebrities, and others focus professional speakers within a certain genre. If you have never heard of a speaker bureau or association here are a few that you can start with to point you in the right direction.

American Speakers Bureau

National Speakers Association (don’t forget local chapters!)

Elite Speakers Bureau

Word of Mouth

Sometimes all you have to do is ask. Ask around to your fellow meeting planners. Ask your vendors if they have heard of any speakers they have seen at conferences and tradeshows. I’ve run across many options for speakers just by having a conversation with those in the industry.

Internal Subject Matter Experts

You never know what gems lay inside your organization. Look out for those trainers, directors and VP’s that know the most about your organization or a particular subject. Sometimes asking them in advance to give them time to prepare a presentation, is all that your event needs.

Event Tradeshows and Conferences

If you go to conferences, take a look at the speaker line-up. Not just from the vantage point of who is coming to speak to “you”, but think about who can you go to observe to see if they would be a good fit for the event that you are planning. Some conferences and tradeshows have flashpoint sessions or panel discussions, which are great to observe different speakers and their personalities.

Local Celebrities

Sometimes you can find a great local celebrity with a moving story that can bring it home. Stay on the look out for these speakers. Sometimes because you are right in their backyard, they can offer you a tremendous discount to speak at your event.

Regardless of where you find your speakers, make sure to prepare them for your event by giving them the relevant information on your group to make them successful. Make sure you set expectations on what you are looking for and come to a collaborative conclusion that you both can live with.

Do you have other unique places to find speakers for your event, share them!

 

Photo attribution: microphone by SparkCBC via Flickr