Email

This is a tried and tested means of communication and used correctly is one of the most effective means of contacting prospective conference speakers.

Keep the tone of your message personal, friendly, informative and professional. Show that you’ve done your research and that your selective in approaching them.

A short, catchy and creative subject heading that ‘grabs’ their attention and inspires them to open your message is very important. Use two to three sentence paragraphs, the first of which should summarize why you are contacting them and how you found them. This could be:

  1. your internet research flagged them as an authority on the subject
  2. recommended by an associate (include their name).
  3. they had spoken at a previous event

Keep initial emails short (around 250 words) and don’t send lots of attachments. I would recommend saving your attachments in a drop box file and including the links in the body of your email.

LinkedIn

Upgrading your LinkedIn account to a premium membership offers you many advantages for prospective speaker contact and acquisition.

Firstly, it allows you unlimited searches for appropriate speaker candidates, narrowed down by geographical location, industry, company size and job titles.

Secondly, it gives you the opportunity to ‘reach out’ to people who are not part of your network, with a simple but effective message to invite them to speak at your event. You can also include hyperlinks to your programme and other reference materials.

It’s important to note that this should not be your only means of contact, as for a variety of reasons not everyone that has a LinkedIn account actually check their messages.

Although, I have personally had a great deal of success using this method, I would recommend it as part of a three-pronged approach using telephone, email and LinkedIn.

Telephone

I would also recommend that all contacts with prospective speakers made by email and/or LinkedIn or any other electronic means, should be proceeded with a telephone call.

However difficult it is to pin down a prospect (getting past the gatekeeper or playing telephone tag with their voice mail) it’s critical that you have an initial telephone conversation to introduce yourself, your company and your event, in order to build a relationship and gain their trust.

Once this has been achieved the majority of follow-up contact will be via email.