When it comes to finding a conference speaker, associations work with a limited (if any) budget. The challenge, though, is that a talented speaker is a key to increasing attendance and engaging members.
Of course, there is an abundance of professional speakers available at a wide range of prices. But, when looking for an interesting, inexpensive presenter, a little creativity can go a long way. Consider the sheer number of amateur speakers that are just as talented and interesting as their paid counterparts. Remember, every professional speaker was once an amateur.
To find the best fit for your conference, consider the following:
- Decide what kind of speaker makes sense for your conference and your attendees. Someone who can give tips on social media or a new operating system? Perhaps a motivational speaker or maybe a time management expert? There are a variety of subjects that appeal to plenty of people.
- Keep it local. Travel expenses add up quickly, so focus on finding someone that is based nearby.
- Use social media and your email list. Send out your request to everyone. Start with members and affiliates. Also include local leaders, donors, and people who have benefitted from your organization.
- Contact public speaking organizations. Members of Toastmasters, for example, are trying to improve their speaking skills and may appreciate the practice.
- Search online. Use Google to track down experts in your area. Even if you locate someone who charges a fee, you may be able to negotiate a discount or even convince them to waive it. Consider what incentives can you offer to encourage them to speak pro-bono (e.g., press releases, logos on your site, social media promotion, email marketing, etc.).
Source: Miranda Brookins, Demand Media