With the ride of virtual events, finding speakers has become a challenge for those in event management. The success of any online event will come down to both its content and the individual delivering it. That’s why finding the right speaker is crucial to organizing an engaging event.
By now, everyone knows that to host a virtual event, you need the right tech stack, engaging content, and seamless integrations of different event tools. But the speaker is the one who will hold it all together. Here’s why it’s important to find the right speaker for your virtual event.
The importance of finding the right speaker for your virtual event
Expertise: People participate in events to know more about a topic from someone who’s an expert on the topic. They may be an established name or an individual who has compelling views on the subject. Either way, your audience would expect to benefit from their expertise. Without credible voices, you can’t create an engaging event.
Experience: Public speaking is an art and something that doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Even if you have interesting content, if the individual delivering it doesn’t come across as comfortable on stage, your virtual audience will lose their interest. This might lower your engagement levels.
Interactivity: Experienced speakers would know how to involve the audience in the event. They would explain the content in an easy-to-understand way and encourage the participants to ask questions, take polls and more. The Q&A sessions will be lively and the audience will feel that they have a say in the proceedings.
ROI: Better content delivery and audience participation might also interest your leadership or sponsors. When people don’t log off and participate throughout the event, there will be more visibility to your brand, your sponsors and of course, the content itself.
How to find amazing speakers for your virtual event
Great speakers can’t be contacted at the last moment. As an event management professional, to find an amazing speaker, you need to follow a process. With these four steps, it should be easy to find the right speaker for your next virtual event.
The first step is to identify the topic of your virtual event. Once you finalize the main content, you should write down the event information with the objective, structure, expected number of participants, and technology you would use.
Now you have enough information to prepare a sharable document through Google Docs, Notion, or your favorite tool. This is what you should share with the speakers. This also makes it easier to share it with the organization and its key stakeholders. It will be easier for everyone to suggest and make changes.
Next, you should identify the right speaker for your virtual event. The person you find should be an expert on the topic and somebody that the audience would be familiar with or would be looking forward to meeting. The speaker should also be influential in the domain and must have spoken or written about it before.
An easy criteria to asses a speaker is by analyzing their social media presence. While they need not have social media accounts, there should be enough conversations about them. Others should be citing their work or quoting them on articles and interviews.
Once you know the type of speaker or an individual, in particular, the next step is to find them. One of the easiest ways is through social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, or Medium. This strategy works if you already have a name in mind and only need to reach out to them.
If you don’t have a name or have more than one, you can look at expert forums. These include Slack groups, tech forums, and other communities. You can also search online for the topic and find out who has been writing recently about it and who gets quoted often.
As an event manager, you can always ask for referrals from others or even reach out to organizations that may have conducted successful virtual events recently.
4. Reach out
If you find an expert on the topic, chances are that they would be getting multiple invites for conferences and online events. So, how do you stand out from the clutter? By reaching out in a professional manner that succinctly spells out all the relevant information and the value the speaker can add to your virtual event and its participants.
You can keep the following list in mind while reaching out to speakers for your virtual event:
- Craft a personal message. This shouldn’t be generic mail but personalized to the recipient. Tell them how much you value their work and how their views will be important to the organization and the event attendees.
- Include the event information. Mention the name of the online event, its topic, event date, or month if you haven’t decided yet. Then, include the format and the technology you will be using.
- Let them know why you’re organizing this event. Inform the speaker of the value you hope to create from the event. If you’ve hosted successful events in the domain, you should also mention those.
5. Follow up
Your job is not done once you get the confirmation from the speaker. Following up with the relevant information is a crucial step. You should immediately reply and thank them for their interest. And send the calendar placeholder invite right away!
You should also let them know of the next steps. It should be easy for them to find out more about the format, the number of participants, or the duration. If they need practice with the technology, you should arrange a virtual session for that.
To wrap it up
While there are protocols on practically every other aspect of hosting a virtual event, there isn’t much advice on how to find speakers for a virtual event. Hopefully, with this step-by-step guide, it should be easier for you to find the right speaker for your virtual event.
December 29, 2021
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