Putting on a great conference requires a foundation of two things: 1) a topical, timely and intriguing agenda; and 2) outstanding speakers. Both serve as the draw for attendees and sponsors.
When programming a conference, I sometimes start by crafting the agenda. Other times, I start by confirming speakers and then creating sessions that will take best advantage of their knowledge, experience and expertise.
In either case, there’s an art to inviting speakers. Here are a few tips:
- Keep the invitation short and focused. The folks you want get lots of invitations every day; make sure your invitation gets to the point quickly.
- Mention the event, date and city either in the subject line of the email or first paragraph; this way the invitee can find it quickly when looking for this information later.
- Demonstrate your knowledge of their company. You should have done some research that shows why it is a good fit for your event.
- Flatter them. Explain why he or she is absolutely the best person to speak at this conference on this topic. If you can’t provide that information, you probably shouldn’t be inviting the person.
- Provide a link to the conference website.
- Once you have a few speakers confirmed, mention them in invitations to others; let those you are recruiting know they are in good company.
- Let them know you will follow up in a few days – and then make sure to do it.
Having the right speakers can make or break your event, so be sure to use these tips to get the speakers you want — and to make it easy for them to work with you.