Sleuthing to Secure Speakers

For the past several months, I’ve worked to identify and secure speakers for this year’s NFPW conference in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

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Like a good detective, I turned to sleuthing to find speakers for a conference.

At first, the thought of identifying and securing 20 speakers was daunting. As I began sleuthing to identify speakers, I realized I had my ways to find them.

Here’s how I did it.

About nine months ago I reached out to fellow university media communicators in Pennsylvania. I introduced myself and shared how I was seeking experts on a variety of communications topics. Because I spend my days pitching experts on a variety of topics, I was confident these individuals would have some suggestions. And they did.

I also asked friends in the communications field if they had suggestions. I stressed that their recommendations needed to be of experts who lived and worked in the Lehigh Valley, where Bethlehem is located because we did not have a budget for travel or speaker fees. Fortunately, I received a few recommendations that way.

In my profession, I receive numerous invites to attend communications conferences on a variety of topics. I became a sleuth, digging through conference programs to identify topics of interest and speakers who might be from Pennsylvania. Once I found them, if their topic was appropriate, I reached out and filled a few more speaker slots.

Another source was individuals whom I had heard speak or with whom I had participated in one of their online trainings. I asked these individuals for speaker suggestions knowing that their calendars were likely full. Surprisingly, a few said they would be willing and were available to speak at the conference.

Facebook was an obvious source. I posted once for recommendations. Although I only received one response, the suggestion was exactly what I was seeking – and another spot was filled.

A few NFPW members also committed to speaking. It’s always nice to have first-hand knowledge of a speaker to ensure that the person’s presentation will be on point and will be geared toward the audience.

Finally, my family proved helpful. My sister told me about a speaker she heard on the topic of productivity. She found him inspiring and noted she gained numerous tips. I reached out to that person, and he agreed to speak.

My mum became a secret weapon for me. I shared with her how I was struggling to find appropriate reporters and editors from the region. Unbeknownst to me, she began to read the local newspapers with an eye toward potential speakers and then mailed me a list of suggestions with their email addresses. I should note that my mum is not on social media and does not have a computer so she went above and beyond.

With everyone’s assistance and plenty of networking, the speaker slots are filled. You can learn about our speakers here, https://www.nfpw.org/conference-speakers.php and about the topics here, https://www.nfpw.org/conference-sessions.php.

Personally, I can’t wait to learn from them.

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