Showcase Your Experts—Speakers’ Bureau How-Tos

Amanda Aldrich edited-1Our guest blogger Amanda Aldrich is Regional Communications Specialist with the American Red Cross of Northwest Ohio. The opinions she shares here do not represent those of the American Red Cross.

As a regional communications professional, I’m frequently asked to present in the area, and the requests often surpass my availability.

Rather than explore ways to clone myself, we’ve responded by developing a speakers’ bureau. Our group of speakers helps tell our story to the local community, engages volunteers and recruits new supporters to join our cause. It’s a win-win-win!

Here are nine steps to take to build your organization’s speakers’ bureau:

  1. Recruit—Seek out board members, key volunteers, and interns to share the workload.
  2. Select—Identify those colleagues who are well spoken, passionate, positive, and flexible.
  3. Find sources—Pull existing marketing, communications, and development messages as well as testimonials from sources such as your case for support, FAQs, annual report and client stories.
  4. Develop templates—Develop core slides and handouts that can be adapted or built on as necessary.
  5. Train—Schedule quarterly sessions (in person, online, or via phone) to share best practices and updates.
  6. Support—Provide a listening ear and guidance when speakers need some help. Feeling supported is crucial to building their confidence and record of success.
  7. Provide feedback—Offer speaker evaluations at each presentation and conduct peer-to-peer reviews.
  8. Thank, thank and thank some more—Too easy to forget but vital for retention (and attracting additional speakers).
  9. Build your audience—Groups like Rotary International, Kiwanis, Chamber of Commerce, universities, businesses, and even local churches are always seeking qualified and entertaining speakers like yours!

What’s missing from the list? Please share your speakers’ bureau how-tos here.

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Nancy Schwartz on September 18, 2013 in Unique Approaches | 2 comments
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