Who Should Speak at Your Event? — Things to Keep in Mind While Selecting Your Panel and Keynote Speakers

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So, you’re planning an event. You’ve decided the theme, who’s going to be there, what you plan to achieve; you’ve probably already started dreaming of how good it’s going to be. But hold up, who’s going to speak at your event?

That’s one thing you definitely want to put some thought in. Of course, you could just call the first industry leader that comes to your mind and call it a day. You might even pull-off a decent event. But is decent what you’re going for?

I thought not.

To have an awesome event, you need an awesome keynote speaker (or list of speakers) who goes with the theme of your event and who will be able to connect with your audience. And that takes some work.

So we compiled a list a 3-step mini-guide for you to use while making that decision!

Step 1—Research Like Never Before

I know, I know. The same old boring “know your audience” thing. You’re sick of seeing it everywhere. But there is a very good reason why every article worth its salt mentions it as the very first step. How would you know your attendees likes and dislikes, what makes them laugh, what’ll make them angry, if you haven’t done your research?

And I’m not talking about the one or two hours of research where you furiously google and read up on every article, resource, or paper you can find on them. Sure, that’s pretty important too but I’m talking about days, no, weeks of research.

Step 2—Plan Out Your Budget

Now that you’ve looked into your audience, we come to the hard part. You need to realistically look at your pockets and see how much you can dedicate to the speakers. While most speakers don’t charge a lot, a good keynote speaker would charge a fair amount as compensation. The demand for the speaker’s services also makes a lot of difference when you’re considering the budget. If you’d like a well-known speaker, then you would likely have to think of a bigger amount.

Do this one carefully since you still need to think of the necessities and various extra costs such as travel allowances, accommodations, etc.

Step 3—Talk to potential speakers (and finally select one!)

Once you’ve decided how much of your resources you’re going to allocate to your speakers, it’s time to actually select one.

Now I’m assuming that you must already have some potential speakers and panel members in mind while you’ve been going through the whole process, so you can go ahead and contact them through email, twitter, linkedin.

If you don’t, that’s okay too! Start searching online on various experts and speakers on your chosen theme. Keep your audience in mind as you do this and decide if the speaker you’re looking at will be able to connect with them or not. Watch some videos of the speaker on youtube. Follow their social media.

Once you’ve decided on some speakers, contact them (well before at least 3-4 months from your event) through the channel that you think they’re most active on.

I would recommend against using facebook, since it’s just a bit unprofessional, but many speakers still use it as their main channel. The best way to form initial contact is through email, but twitter and linkedin work just as well.

And there you go! Once they reply, and contact is established, you can go ahead and lay down your terms, expectations, etc. and see if they’re a good fit for your event. Let us know what worked and did not work for you in terms of speaker selection by commenting below!

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