LinkedIn and Other Networks
With LinkedIn being the largest business networking site around, you will find no shortage of eligible candidates to speak at your next event. Speakers who are well versed in the trade will even have clips of pervious speeches so you can view the quality of their work. Consider starting a conversation within a LinkedIn group to get peer recommendations. If you attend conferences regularly, be sure to keep a list of speakers you have enjoyed listening to. You can then go back to your personal database to contact them when it is your time to host the event. Also, scroll through the contacts on your phone or email, you never know if a past contact who slipped your mind might be perfect for your conference.
Browse trade publications, taking note or authors and guest bloggers. These writers may also be interested in speaking about the topics. Guest bloggers in particular are often looking to expand their portfolio and establish themselves as knowledgeable and respected industry expert.
The National Speakers Association. “NSA provides professional speakers with the comprehensive resources, mentoring and professional connections they need to become more efficient and more effective in all aspects of their trade. Our 3,500+ members reach audiences as thought leaders, authors, consultants, coaches, trainers, educators, humorists, and motivators.” As one of the most respected organizations for professional speakers they will be a invaluable research to connect you with talent.
Speaker Match, is a database that will allow you to search through thousands of professional speakers. You can filter your search by location, topic, and fee. This website also lets you post a job and the interested candidates can contact you.
Chamber of Commerce
Business owners join local organizations like these to become more visible in their community. The chamber staff may be able to connect you with business leaders in the community who would be willing to speak at events. Also, you could ask the chamber if they would send an email to their members on your behalf seeking interested individuals.
Perhaps contacting your local college of university would be the right route for you. Professors are both knowledgeable about their subject and comfortable speaking to crowds. Some universities will have a department to help connect the community to interested professors.
The leaders of non profits thrive on being actively engaged in their community. This would also be away to possibly tie a charitable component to your event.