Top 10 Actionable Tips for Booking Your Next Speaker

By ITR Economics on December, 6 2018

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ITR Economics is the oldest, privately-held, continuously operating, economic research and consulting firm in the US.

A speaking engagement can be a fun, interactive way to provide valuable knowledge to your company or clients. However, your event will likely only be as good as the speaker you choose.

Your speaker’s presentation will provide the bulk of the value of your event, so it’s imperative to choose someone who is educated, experienced, engaging, and approachable. How do you ensure your chosen speaker is a delight, not a dud? The 10 tips below can assist you in your search.

1. Know what you want out of your speaker.

Before you start googling "motivational speakers," it’s important to determine exactly what you’re looking for. Do you want someone who uses humor or real-life stories to connect to your audience? Or perhaps you just want a numbers guy to deliver the facts? Jot down some potential personality traits that you think will best match your event.

2. Know the details and intended value of your event.

Looking for a speaker without knowing what your event is all about can easily lead to a poor fit between the two. Before you begin your speaker search, you should have the full details and event-plan in place, as well as an understanding of the exact value you hope to provide your attendees. This will help you and your potential speaker determine whether they are the right fit for your goals.

3. Unsure where to start looking? Peruse speaker resources.

The internet can be an overwhelming source of information. Who has time to swim through pages and pages of data looking for speakers and researching all their credentials? Instead of just googling “motivational speakers," you can instead use speaker resources such as BigSpeak, the National Speakers Association, Speakers Network Worldwide, and more. Tried and tested speakers will often be featured on these websites, and they can serve as a helpful doorway to further information about your potential candidates.

4. Get in touch with people in your network.

Your business network contacts are another valuable resource in your search. Check in with colleagues, partners, or friends from other companies to see if they have any speakers to recommend. It’s likely someone will have recently attended a conference or meeting and will have helpful input for your search. If you’re already considering a speaker or two, you can also ask your network if they’ve had any experience with those speakers.

5. Thoroughly vet your speaker.

You have your list of potential candidates; the next step is to find as much information as possible about them. Remember, your speaker can make or break your event, so spending time on research is important. Peruse their online bios, thoroughly explore their companies' websites, look at their LinkedIn profiles, etc. These avenues can provide you with information, testimonials, video clips, and more to give you better insight into the people you’re considering hiring.

6. Get a feel for your speaker.

This tip plays off the previous one. Learning the facts about your speaker and their company is good, but you also want to get an understanding of them on a personal level. Their personality is just as important as their experience, and you want them to match the traits you picked out earlier. Watching videos from past events or listening to podcasts featuring your speaker are great ways to do this. 

7. Determine their ask-back rate.

The ask-back rate is exactly what it sounds like – a simple percentage of how often a speaker is asked to return to future events (for example, ITR Economics’ ask-back rate for their speakers is 97%). If you’re feeling confident about a certain speaker’s track record and character, this number can help solidify your decision.

8. Contact the speaker well ahead of time.

You probably already know you want to contact your speaker directly before making your final decision. But the earlier this is done in the process, the better! Make time to have a phone chat with them, or, if they’re nearby, consider meeting with them in person. This one-on-one connection is important for both of you in ensuring your speaker and event are a good fit. Establishing this connection early on is also important for the next tip.

9. Book early.

ITR has speakers that already have events scheduled a full 12 months out. The same is true at many other companies with experienced speakers. Do your research, reach out to your speaker early on, and then BOOK early on. Good speakers’ schedules fill up quickly, and you don’t want to miss out on the perfect fit for your event. Deciding on this important component of your event early on can also help boost your advertising efforts.

10. Follow up with your speaker after the event.

The event has passed, your speaker (if you’ve followed these tips) did an excellent job, and your audience is pleased. But that doesn’t mean you should just shake hands and move on. As much as you need feedback from your attendees, you also need feedback from your speaker. Do they feel they provided value to the attendees, and received a valuable experience in return? Do you have any feedback (positive or negative) you would like to discuss with your speaker? This is an important conversation to have with your speaker to further nurture the relationship. After all, you’ll want them to come back next year!


Looking to further increase the value of your next event? As a limited-time holiday gift, if you book an ITR Economics Speaker for your next engagement, you will receive six months of Alliance Powered by DataCast™ for FREE! You and your attendees will be able to take the knowledge and insights you absorb from our speaker back to the office to apply immediately. Additionally, market data covered during your presentation will be specifically included in the tool!

Click here to learn more and take advantage of this exclusive offer.

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