Meetings 411: 9 Places to Discover Great Conference Speakers and Facilitators

SpeakersFinding speakers that are a good fit for meetings and corporate events can be a challenge. Speakers Bureaus represent really prominent speakers including business leaders, athletes, and celebrities. Often they have showcases for some of the emerging talent on their rosters.

There are also a number of other neglected sources for speakers and facilitators that can make a meeting planners task of finding speakers and facilitators so much easier. Here are 9 ideas:

  1. Some speakers and facilitators have listings in the Cvent Supplier Network and that number is expected to increase over time.
  2. Event industry conferences and tradeshows.
  3. Associations for speakers. Many emerging keynoters and some experienced speakers are active members of associations like the National Speaker's Association (NSA) in the USA and the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS). For other countries, check out Global Speakers Federation. Conduct Google searches for your topic plus the name of the association and you'll also pull up former members including former board members who may be too busy with speaking engagements to attend meetings.
  4. Associations for facilitators and trainers. When searching for facilitators for breakout sessions, facilitators and trainers will keep the sessions interactive. There are several including Association Talent Development (ATD - formerly ASTD), International Association of Facilitators, and Canadian Society for Training and Development

    Attending local and national association events can be very helpful when sourcing speakers and facilitators. Keep an eye out for showcases. 

Associations for speakers, facilitators, and trainers and their local chapters often list their events, conferences and tradeshows on Cvent. (Examples: CSTD ) Cvent often exhibits at national conferences and tradeshows.

  1. Toastmasters International. Local Toastmasters chapters sometimes have contests and showcases.
  2. MoMondays is a great place to connect with emerging talent.
    MoMondays take place one Monday evening a month in cities across North America.

    Sometimes experienced speakers will even show up if they are trying out new or more personal (vulnerable) material. Here is an example.

  1. LinkedIn. There are LinkedIn Groups for just about every topic and industry. For example, NSA, CAPS, CSTD, and ATD have groups where you are welcome to post requests for speakers. Event Planing and Event Management Group has subgroups where you can post RFPs and post that you are looking for speakers. On LinkedIn, it's also possible to conduct searches for members who are speakers.
  2. Facebook. Many speakers and facilitators have Facebook pages with links to their websites and video clips.
  3. YouTube. Search for your topic and use the word speaker facilitator and even the location and you'll pull up reels and clips from actual speeches for many speakers and facilitators.

For more tips on working with speakers and facilitators, also check out Corporate Event Planning: Working with Speakers and Facilitators Money-Saving Tips for Getting Speakers: Showcase Their Talentand Meetings 411: Checklist for Selecting Team Building Facilitators.

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