Having a dynamic, knowledgeable speaker can make or break an event. The right speaker keeps the audience captivated and ensures attendees walk away feeling like their time was well spent. But finding and booking a great speaker requires some thoughtful planning and preparation. Here are some tips for getting an engaging speaker for your next conference, seminar, or meeting.

Determine Your Goals and Budget

Before you start your speaker search, get clear on your goals for the event and what you hope the speaker will achieve. Do you want them to inform, motivate, or entertain the audience? Having specific objectives in mind will guide you towards speakers whose expertise and style aligns with your vision. You’ll also need to set a reasonable speaker budget based on your overall event finances.

Ask for Recommendations

Reach out to colleagues, community organizations, and your network to get speaker recommendations. Personal referrals can provide helpful insights into a speaker’s strengths, fees, and audience rapport. Subscribe to speaker databases and browse recent event listings to discover new talent as well.

Research Speaking Experience and Style

Once you have a shortlist of potential speakers, vet them thoroughly. Review video footage of their previous talks to evaluate their presence, delivery style, and ability to keep an audience engaged. Check their background and credentials to ensure they truly are an expert on your event’s topic. You may even ask for references from previous event hosts.

Make Your Pitch

When you identify a strong speaker candidate, make a formal inquiry about their fees, availability for your event dates, and any other specifics like travel requirements or audio/visual needs. Personalize your pitch by explaining why you think they would be a great fit and allow plenty of time for negotiations on the terms.

Manage Logistics and Promotion

Once you secure your speaker, keep communication lines open. Provide logistical information like venue details, schedule, and day-of contacts. See if they have any promotional materials you can share on your event website and social channels. Be sure to build in meet-and-greet or book-signing opportunities so attendees can connect with the speaker.