How To Invite The Best Guest Speakers To Your Event

Guest speakers can elevate a corporate event or convention to new levels. The best can keep an audience of entrepreneurs engaged as they talk about their success and give valuable advice for business strategy, personal growth, and more. So, how do you secure the very best guest speakers for your event and get the best out of them? It all comes down to careful research, an ability to compromise and negotiate, and your own reputation.

5 Ways To Get The Best Guest Speakers

1) Finding guest speakers that fit the theme

This has to be the starting point for any company event, entrepreneur trade show, or whatever else you end up planning. You probably have a wishlist in your head of all the people you’d love to hear speak in person. Maybe there was someone who gave an inspirational Ted Talk or wrote an audiobook you recommended to all your colleagues, like Darren Shirlaw. That’s great if they have the same values as the company and can offer something of interest. Are your attendees going to get enough out of their presentation to become inspired to do more or build their business? Or are they just going to come out a little confused and feel like it was a waste of time? Take your time to research different speakers within niche areas of the industry and see who fits.

2) Finding guest speakers with a great reputation

On top of offering the best content and a great experience for those in attendance, these guest speakers need to have a good reputation. Are they able to deliver compelling presentations night after night? Or are they so egotistical with their fame and success that they’re phoning it in? Are they personable with their hosts and attendees? You can find this out by looking at their social media interactions after an event. Do they have plenty of positive reviews regarding their attitude and punctuality? The more you can find out beforehand, the easier it is to find the right fit and negotiate an offer.

3) Giving guest speakers freedom over their presentation

The best guest speakers have a strong message and have built a brand around something specific. They will travel the country giving talks about their product or business strategy methodology to help increase their influence and impact. So, you should expect the speaker to deliver their presentation based on those values and ideas. They may have something specific they are touring at the moment – a little like a music performer or stand-up touring their current set. Be aware that this may have varied from previous talks, so you can’t expect them to give the same presentation they did 2 years ago for someone else.

The best guest speakers will expect the chance to give talks on their terms. The question is, how much are you prepared to negotiate to get there. For example, what happens if the perfect speaker says that they can only do virtual presentations in your area? Is it worth saying yes to get to hear them speak, or would you give attendees better value with a different in-person speaker? You will also have to negotiate on price for some guest speakers. The best of the best have earned the right to ask for higher fees than you may have budgeted for.

4) Creating a compelling invitation.

This is the hard part for many companies lacking the confidence to make those big plays. Remember, it is better to go in with a big offer to a star entrepreneur in the public speaking world and get rejected than do nothing. If you play your cards right with your event and invitation, you might be pleasantly surprised.

You need to start with all the basic details of the event, such as the date and venue, to be sure that your chosen guest is available. They’re going to want to lock in a date and think about their travel commitments ASAP. You can also take some time to talk about why you think they are a good fit for the event, showcasing some knowledge of their work and skillset. Then, promote your own company or event and why speaking there would work in their favor. What’s so special about your organization? How do your values and aspirations tie in with their own? How many people are they likely to address on the night? You can then finish with an invitation to contact you to discuss things further.

5) Create a strong reputation for yourself

A final point worth noting here is that these guest speakers need to want to work with you. Some may take a chance on a newcomer with the right attitude – at the right price. However, it’s much easier if you already have a good reputation in the events industry. So, you need to deliver on all your promises to guest speakers and other invitees throughout the event. That means being sure to provide the fee promised – on time – and anything else the guest negotiated for.

You need to show that you appreciate them taking time out of their schedule to take part and impart wisdom to all your attendees. We’re not saying you need to be a complete sycophant to get on their good side and bring them back the following year. But gratitude and respect go a long way. Guest speakers who are well-treated will talk about your company to others in the industry and could make or break your reputation as a result. Even a simple tweet from the event thanking your audience can go a long way. You can then use this publicity and any permitted quotes when seeking other guest speakers in the future.

If you can bring all these factors together, it should be much easier to find and secure the perfect guest speaker for your event. Take the time to research leading speakers on business strategy, personal development, and more. Find the one that’s the right fit and market your event to them with a strong invitation. Take a risk on a bigger entrepreneur too. You might just find that they say yes and give your attendees an experience to remember.

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