Where To Find Your Next Expert Speaker

After weeks of brainstorming and refining, you have the perfect topic for an event.  Now you need to find an expert who can provide information, lead discussion and guide your attendees through the intricacies and nuances of said topic.  Where will you find them?

  • Speakers Groups.  These businesses have listings of speakers who are available for hire.  The advantage of using a service is two-fold, one: you can easily search by cost and availability and two: you have a professional group used to handling details that you may not be familiar with. For example, the company Premiere Speaker provides a packet of candidates for you to look through based on your objectives, and also helps you find a replacement if an emergency, like illness or bad weather causes your scheduled speaker to cancel.
  • Associations.  These groups of like-minded professionals are another place to search for experts on specialized topics.  Call the association and see if there is a member with speaking experience.
  • University/Colleges.  During local and national elections our local news channel often interviews the head of the political science department at the state university located in our city.  I always enjoy these interviews because the professor is an expert and brings in examples of past political strategies and personalities –always a much more informed opinion that Joe Smith off the street.  Professors are generally experienced and comfortable with public speaking, but ask if they have other speaking experience and see if you can chat with someone that has seen them in action.
  • Amazon.com.  This may seem strange but I often find experts on a topic by searching for soon-to-be-released books on amazon.  I type in the subject I am looking for in “books” and then under the “sort by” drop down menu I choose “publication date”.  I look for books that will be released one to six months before my event date.  These authors are happy to speak on a topic relevant to their newly released book, and have been interacting with all their research fairly recently.

Once you find a few experts on your topic, ask if you can see a video clip from a recent speaking gig.  Or, at the very least, get some references and call them for an honest review.  Just because a person is an expert on a topic does not mean they will be a fantastic speaker.  You need a blend of expertise and speaking experience.

I hope this list was helpful- where do you find your best expert speakers?

Your Thoughts?