How to Ask Speakers to Speak at Your Event
You have this OUTSTANDING idea for a workshop.
It smacks you so hard in the face while you're in the shower that you don't even bother rinsing the conditioner out of your hair before you're sitting at your desk creating an action plan (just don't drip on the computer, mkay?).
But while you are GUNG HO to organize, you want to bring others' on board to help with the teaching part. You know so many amazing creative partners you could work with but...you don't know how to attract them to your event. Or if they'll totally blow your budget. Or if they're even available.
Never fear! Here's what you have to keep in mind when approaching possible speakers.
1. Do your homework
Sure, we'd all love it if Gabrielle Bernstein spoke at our workshop, but her brand and business isn't going to fit in with every single event's focus.
If you have an entrepreneur that you LOVE and want them to speak at your event, see where they've spoken before, the topics they love to speak on, and the things that their passionate about. Often, a "good fit" is better than a "high-dollar" engagement, so make sure you're clear on your message before you go pursuing them.
2. Realize the opportunity
You've got a superstar speaker in mind, but you're afraid you can't afford their speaking fees (which you don't even know, since you haven't asked...we'll get to that next).
But you live in a really desirable location (Montana, for example), and you've got a REALLY good fit of an audience, and you probably can at least cover travel.
Make the ask. Sometimes, speakers will want to come for a "vacation" or sorts and if you can create an opportunity of a lifetime (two days lodging and a round-trip ticket to Montana PLUS a guided tour of Yellowstone National Park by yours truly), you may be able to entice them.
If you're in San Diego, think of attracting a northerner that wants to go somewhere warm in the winter. Or if you're in a ski location, take them up to a local resort for the day. Or if you're in a big city, give them your personal walking tour of your favorite spots.
These are all amazing ways to keep your costs down and also get fantastic speakers on board!
3. Be honest about your budget
You probably don't have to talk about budget in the first email, but if the speaker comes back and says "I charge $1,000 for a 20-minute talk", you should be up front about what you're willing to spend. Sometimes (like I mentioned above), speakers will jump at a chance to be in front of a unique audience (TV or on the radio), or in a unique place and budget may not be a deal breaker.
4. Make the ask
There are so, so, so many entrepreneurs, mama bloggers, and people in general who just want to add the title of "Speaker" to their resume. So even if you don't think you can pay your speakers, you should make the ask anyway. There are so many reasons that speakers want to speak at an event and if you make your case a good one ("You're so inspiring to me, and I know you can be inspiring to my audience" or "I'd love for you to come out here and see what Florida is like"), you could have some inspiring speakers on board.
What are the biggest struggles you have when it comes to asking for speakers? Is it getting a response to your email? Let me know in the comments below!