You know you want to host a virtual summit. You've chosen your topic, know your goals, and now it's time to choose your speakers.
You might start brainstorming and come up with 10-15 pretty easily. But then you realize that you don't know who else would make a good fit.
This is a common struggle. It's hard to fill 20+ speaker spots with quality and diverse presenters without having to do some extra digging to find them.
To help, let's cover 5 ways to find virtual summit speakers.
This one seems obvious but start by looking more closely at the people you already know. If you made your preliminary list off the top of your head, take a look through:
If you run into someone who you know will have great value to add, add them to your list.
Another great place to look is in your Instagram direct messages if you're a frequent Instagram user. When you're communicating back-and-forth over time, it's easy to miss those people at first, but you might find some hidden gems!
Keep in mind that this works best if you follow a diverse group of people.
Next, ask your audience who they'd like to learn from!
Ask your audience who they love to learn from and what topics related to your summit they would love to learn about.
You'll likely get some amazing suggestions that you would have missed on your own. I always do!
Next, take a look at the social media accounts of people in your target audience as well as industry experts.
Search through who those people are following and you'll run into some great speaker candidates!
Industry experts might be the easiest way to go because they tend to be picky about who they follow. That means fewer people to sort through and if an industry expert likes learning from someone, odds are that your audience will as well.
Another great way to find speakers for your virtual summit is to check out existing speaker directories: (let me know if you know of others!)
These are currently growing directories, but they'll become more and more valuable to event hosts over time.
Last, if the previous methods haven't filled your speaker list, use Google and Pinterest to search.
For the best results, search for specific topics you'd like to have covered in your summit.
For example, in my last summit, I wanted someone to talk about creating a goodbye packet for design clients. I used Pinterest to search "how to create a goodbye packet" and came across several amazing speaker options.
If in your search, you see someone who has been interviewed on podcasts or written guest posts about the topic you're searching for, you know they're a great person to reach out to as they're open to collaborations.
I do want to caution you to pay special attention to the types of people each of these strategies leaves you with.
If you tend to follow people who look like you and run businesses similar to yours, you're likely to end up with a summit with 20+ people who look the same.
Put a little effort into creating a diverse lineup. Diversify the type of people you're following, connect with them, and it will all come naturally from there!
Using these 5 methods you'll be able to create a solid list of potential virtual summit speakers.
I like to start with a list containing double the amount of people I want to have speak. So if I'm hoping for 20 speakers I start with a list of 40.
This allows me to narrow it down to the best options and have additional people to reach out to if someone I pitch isn't interested.
As a quick tip, take time to connect with potential speakers you've never spoken to before. Spend a couple of weeks connecting with them on social media before you reach out to have a higher likelihood of them saying "yes". (And to get to know some great people in the process)
And once you've filled your speaker slots, check out how to have engaged summit speakers.
Learn how much time to set aside for planning and launching your profitable, stress-free online summit and use my calculator to set the due dates for you.