It is critical to provide as much detail as possible when issuing a call for speakers. Speakers receive many requests, so it’s important to outline well-defined goals and be clear about your incentives and expectations.
Below are some of the key elements to include in a Call for Keynote Speakers:
Clearly list speaker benefits prior to listing your submission questions:
- Will guest speakers receive payment?
- Is registration complimentary?
- Are you looking for local speakers?
- What specific characteristics are you looking for? (Are you looking for industry experts, celebrities, specialists, motivational or inspirational speakers, speakers with humor, etc.)
- Do you have a different call for Keynotes vs breakout speakers? If so, clearly advise which you’d like them to complete.
Outline the kind of speaking topics you are looking for:
- What is your conference theme/title?
- What are your conference objectives?
- What is the goal of the talk?
- How will their talk reflect your objectives?
Target Audience: Let the potential speaker know who the conference is designed for, including whether they will be Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced. Does the intended audience need specialized experience to keep up?
Clarify Instructions and Timelines:
- Indicate how long the Call for Speakers is open (include a deadline)
- Apply online at (include URL) or ask them to fill out an attached form
- Speaker selection will be announced by (include announcement date)
This will avoid a lot of unnecessary questions back and forth by email from potential speakers.
Decide how you will collect information. Make sure it is easy to edit/complete. We recommend Jotforms, some people prefer Google forms.
For Breakout Guest Speakers, provide the tracks or session titles and ask them to advise which breakout their talk best aligns with.
Information Collection: Make sure you ask your potential speakers to provide the following information:
Name and Degrees:
City, State, Zip:
Speaker Bio: (300 word count)
Session Type: (Select all that you would like to be considered for)
Pre- Conference Session
90 Minute Break Out Session
Confirm the speaker’s availability for different dates or sessions:
Conference Day 1 (insert Day of Week, Calendar Date, and Time)
Conference Day 2 (insert Day of Week, Calendar Date, and Time)
Conference Day 3 (insert Day of Week, Calendar Date, and Time)
Topic Title: (Maximum 20 Words) Catchy titles are good, just make sure they reflect the content.
Session Abstract/Description (Maximum 200 Words)
List 3-4 Session Objectives
Delivery: How will you teach these objectives? (i.e. – lecture, analogy, simulation, audience participation, role play, etc.)
Why is this topic important to this audience?
How will your talk reflect the goals of the program?
AV Requirements: (PowerPoint, microphone, comfort screen, etc.)
Request previous speaking references and contact information.
What size audience are you comfortable speaking to?
Request Sample Keynote Speakers Videos
Before closing your call for speakers, make sure you have enough good submissions. If you don’t, keep promoting it to your network on social media.
Collect all keynote and guest speaker submissions and determine the clear winners. Next, short list the rest of the speakers. Through this process you can layer out a great conference schedule.