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How to Get Speakers
By Mark Lamendola
Let me share from my rather lengthy experience in lining up speakers.
What I do is I contact Speaker A and say we have an open slot. I ask for a commitment within 10 days.
Without a deadline, you aren't going to get an answer. If they can't commit, I ask them to start looking at the next event and then I make a note to get back to them. As I get "non commits," I just add them to my speaker pool. I then move on to Speaker B. It doesn't take me long before I have a firm commitment. The time it takes to do this is a lot less than going back and forth with one speaker--a person who is basically unprepared to speak and is simply stalling for time.
You just keep building a pool of speakers. Also, when a speaker tells you no, ask for a reference. When you get it, ask for another. Then, you have turned one possible speaker into three possible speakers.
You can also work with other organizations toward joint events sharing the same speaker (don't think you are limited to X number of, or dinner, meetings only). For example, contact the Society of Broadcast Engineers at http://broadcast.net/~sbe59/.
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Last updated September 16, 2011.