For those who organize conferences, it is a well-known fact that the speakers could make or break an event. A large part of the outcome of the conference would depend on the kind of speakers who are present. The definition of a keynote speaker is one who delivers a speech on the topic involved, possesses an extensive knowledge on the subject, and is skilled in delivering speeches. Keynote speaking is an acquired skill, and you must make sure that you invite the right keynote speaker.
- To invite a keynote speaker, find out how to contact him. Get in touch with his secretary and ask her if the speaker is available on the date of your event. It would be a waste of effort to go through the other steps if he is already booked on that day.
- Next, extend a formal invitation to the speaker. You could send him a letter, or visit him in his office and hand him the letter. Introduce yourself and your organization. Give a brief yet detailed description of the event and why you have chosen him to be your speaker. If you have invited him before, express how much your audience appreciated him then, and that you're looking forward to working with him again.
- Make sure you emphasize when the event is and when he must inform you if he can attend or not. Invite the keynote speaker long before the seminar. Conference speakers need time to prepare their materials, and if they feel that there is not enough time for such preparation, they might decline your invitation.
- Mention the kind of publicity that your event will be having, so the keynote speaker will be enticed to accept your invitation. It would be a good idea if your event will have its own press release so that the keynote speaker will have more incentive to accept. Tell him that the posters for the event will have his name on them.
- Leave a contact number, so the speaker can get back to you. Make sure that someone is always around to answer the phone. It just won't do to have the speaker call and not have anyone to answer him.
- Also, don't forget to make a follow-up call. It will make the keynote speaker feel that you are indeed very interested in getting him for the event, and more importantly, it will remind him of the event. Conference speakers are busy people, so you can't expect them to remember each and every invitation.
- If the keynote speaker accepts your invitation, thank him and assign someone from your organization to coordinate with him. Provide him with more details about the event, such as the venue, his flight schedule if he is flying from somewhere else, and the program for the event.
- Ask him politely about his fees. Professional fees are sticky issues, so make sure you discuss them in the right manner. If you cannot afford his fees or you think they are too high, ask him nicely if he can lower them. Present other incentives that could compensate for the difference between his quoted fees and what you're offering. Tell him that he could promote his book during the event, or he could plug a program he's part of. Be innovative.
Just follow these steps, and inviting the keynote speaker you want for your event will be a breeze.