Finding the right, dynamic and engaging speaker is vital, and with the increasing demand for training and workshops on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I), companies can often make the mistake of hiring someone that does not have what it takes to appeal to the audience. The success of any event relies on the audience through effective and diverse keynote speakers. One common mistake we often see is companies hiring speakers that don’t represent the audience they serve, or looking for a speaker based on their knowledge and not experience. Because let’s be honest, DE&I is based on experience, has command on the subject, ability to incorporate technology, and can provide a safe space for all attendees to share to name a few. The last thing you want is someone who will stand on the podium and talk through the session, we can all remember having to sit through sessions like that and they are quite challenging.
How do you find the right speaker for your next training, workshop or conference?

    We could have easily said, just tap into your network. But the truth is that the simple act of only tapping into your network will continue to hire people that you usually interact with. Unless your network is vastly diverse, then you can certainly do that. But what we have seen that works really well with our clients is to create a task force, or if you already have a diversity council, and make sure that there is diversity in age, race and identity. When you ask the group to tap into their network you will be able to find speakers that your employee base will identify with.

    LinkedIn is a very powerful tool to find speakers, but beware that some of the DE&I experts don’t really have experience but a free certificate under their belt. A good speaker will have a professional LinkedIn page, examples of their work, videos you can watch and press. Make sure that you go through their profile, check out their professional relationships and if they have any recommendations. If you want to go a step further, reach out to the people they spoke to and see what they have to say. Don’t trust everything that you see, anyone can add to their profile “Forbes 30 under 20” go a step further and research.

    This one is huge and often not even considered. When we interview speakers for our bureau we always trust our gut. If when you spoke to them you got a weird feeling, trust it, trust that feeling. We always make sure that when hiring a speaker, the speaker gives us trust when speaking with them and you also like their energy. This one is a bit harder to explain, but I know that you fully get what we are trying to say. Trust it, it’s always right. If you found the speaker through YouTube, you can even tell from watching their videos. We always interview the speakers and do a live chat on our facebook page to see two things, one how they are when we speak to them alone and how they are when there is an audience.

    Social media is a gold mine when you are building a roster of speakers. You can find through keywords known as hashtags, you can look at tags, and even look at the connections they have and who they follow. However, note that not any influencer is a great speaker. A great way to see if they can speak to an audience is seeing if they have done it before, again trying to find evidence of a talk they have done before. We have seen so many conference organizers and companies make HUGE mistakes by hiring an influencer from social media and realizing that they don’t have speaking skills. Make sure that you research them, find evidence and if they have an agent (which most of them do) schedule a meeting with them. You have to also be aware that it’s super important you hire someone that walks the talk, and doesn’t have polarizing views. You do not want to hire someone that has made racist comments, songs or posts in the past, or someone that does not live by their values and it’s not fully equipped or trained in DE&I.

    When finding speakers, it will be easier to determine if they are the right fit for your company if you request to see a proposal on topics they have done or could do for you. All of the speakers you see in our speaker tabs are experts in this field, they have been vetted by us and the most important part is we can customize their sessions to fit your needs. Some speakers are more advanced in certain areas than others, and your company may need a LEVEL 1 vs a LEVEL 5. Knowing exactly what you need and having that flexibility with the speaker to is key.

Speeches set the tone of a conference, workshop or training. That means you have to find engaging speakers to have a successful outcome. Sourcing conference speakers in the field of DE&I requires you to test your own biases, tap into diverse networks and do even more research. We have vetted speakers that we typically introduce to our clients and have continued to do a phenomenal job. If you’d want for us to do all of the hard work you just read, be sure to email us or visit our speakers tab.