Have you ever been to an event, excited to hear a new guest speaker, only to be disappointed? Maybe you left feeling a little dissatisfied that the lineup just didn’t deliver the insights or fun you’d hoped they would. And when colleagues asked you later about the event, you told them it wasn’t very good or mediocre at best. You’re probably not planning to attend the next one either.
The moral of this reflection? Guest speakers matter.
Your attendees can think poorly of your entire event if they’re not inspired or moved by the speakers that piqued their interest in coming in the first place. That’s why you need to spend some quality time on finding, engaging, and inviting the best guest speakers.
There are ways to stack your guest speaker lineup with the absolute best, too. Today, we’ll share those strategies and insights so your next event will have great speakers, create incredible attendee experiences, and ensure nothing but post-event praise from all who came.
1. Don’t Discount Social Media
Some event planners might tell you otherwise. But you can find inspirational storytellers all over social media if you know where to look. And that’s what you need in a guest speaker quality, right? – a great storyteller. You can start by dialing in a few TED Talks, but don’t discount YouTube, LinkedIn, or Facebook either. Additionally, these platforms can offer additional information about potential guest speakers, like their work history, where they grew up, or niche specialties, which can help you identify those whose messages align with the mission of your event.
2. Peruse the Guest Speaker Websites
You can always find guest speakers with revolutionary new messages to share if you go to the source. There are organizations that dedicate their platforms to connecting amazing innovators with speaking opportunities. The National Speakers Association, BuzzSumo, and SpeakerHub can all be on your list of places to find talented guest speakers. These resources will also provide a bio of information to help you carefully select the right promoters to consider. From top influencers to titans of industry, you can find precisely the voice you need for your event.
3. Old-Fashioned Networking
As an event planner, you’re in the people business. Building relationships and making connections is your jam. Don’t overlook your networking as a resource for finding guest speakers for upcoming events. It’s those real-life connections rooted in experiences and personal stories that will resonate with event attendees. If you’re stuck trying to find a speaker, hit up your colleagues, friends, and connections. Friends and family can be helpful, too. Ask if anyone’s heard a great guest speaker recently or if they recommend someone who would be the perfect addition to your speaking lineup.
4. Check Your Attendee List
If you’re planning a recurring event, check your attendee roster and exhibitors’ list. You might find incredible influencers among them who come to every event and have a significant following. These guest speakers can be huge champions of your event, too, in addition to offering valuable insights to the crowd.
Survey Your Attendees to Ask
If you’re stumped and having trouble finding the right keynote or guest speaker for your event, ask your attendees who they’d love to see. You can send out surveys to last year’s attendee list. Ask them who they’re following, what podcasts they tune into these days, and who they would love to hear speak at your event. You can find the inspiration you need in your quest for a guest speaker. But you can also open a game-changing line of communication with your attendees, as well.
Keep these four strategies in your back pocket as you plan your next event. And if you haven’t RSVP’d yet for The Event Planner Expo 2022, let us know you’re coming! Grow your network of event planning colleagues and beyond so you’ll never run out of ideas for guest speakers again!