How to Find Great Speakers for Your Next Association Meeting
Updated: Mar. 21, 2017
When planning your membership organization's meetings, there will be many predictable elements, such as introducing new members or taking votes on issues. However, you will need to come up with exciting and beneficial meeting content to fill up your agendas if you want members to attend regularly.
Hosting speakers to share information, instruct and entertain members is great way to add value to your chapter organization meetings.
So, where do you find compelling and relevant speakers? Here are some ideas.
Members from Your Chapter
Some great speakers may be right under your nose! Chapter members are typically knowledgeable about industry topics; why not invite them to share their expertise with other members?
In addition, it will give the member a chance to practice their public speaking skills, and it will allow others to get to know the speaking member more in depth.
Here are some possible topics members can present:
- A relevant technical skill, such as new software
- Facts about an industry news story, plus how it will impact members
- A “book report” about a pertinent topic
Members of the community are often more than willing to come to your meeting if they can share a bit about their business. For instance, small business owners may want to talk about their services, or a volunteer organization many want to share their cause.
When inviting community members to speak, provide a time limit, tell them about any available technology (ex. If you have a projector), and set presentation content expectations. Be sure they are able to make their presentation relevant to the membership.
Here are some ideas for whom to invite from your community:
- Lawyers discussing law relevant to your industry
- Tax or financial experts
- Business coaches
- For additional ideas, review a list of members of your local Chamber of Commerce
National Speakers Association
The National Speakers Association website (nsaspeaker.org) allows you to search for speakers based on topic and location. You will be able to come up with a list of potential speakers according to their topic of expertise or their industry.
Some of the speakers even provide videos of previous talks so you can get a sense of their style.
Ask Your Members
If you’ve exhausted these resources (or even if you haven’t), try asking members for their input. Conduct a survey using your membership management software to find out potential topics for presentations. In addition, some members may have connections willing to talk with your organization.
Having engaging speakers at your association meetings will help attract new members and keep existing members interested.