At Indie London, we organise quarterly events with practical and visionary talks from experienced speakers. Our format is to dedicate one hour of our event to feature two speakers from our community.
Get speakers from your community
If you decide to go a similar route I would encourage you to reach out to people that are already part of your community. Offer them to speak at your next event. Even if they are not be experienced speakers.
The simple fact of sharing their learnings with make their talks so much more relatable to your audience and hey will be able to share tips that are actionable.
This is something we learnt from experience at Indie London.
Our events are targeted at software engineers that aim to build their own profitable online businesses. For some of our first events, we were featuring one speaker from the community and one from a more established companies. We soon got feedback that while the later was interesting, the type of problems large companies are facing and the way they solve are not relatable to entrepreneurs just starting out.
For instance what you can achieve when you have a team of 2-3 marketing people is nowhere near what you can do as a solo-founder juggling between product development, customer support and marketing. Different stages requires different solutions.
If you struggle to find anyone within your existing community, you can always turn to LinkedIn, Twitter or your online communities to find people your audience might want to learn from.
Communicate with your speakers
Once you have found speakers, send them some details about your event:
- The basic logistics of day, time and location
- How long do they have on stage (including Q&A)
- How many people you expect for the event
- What is the background of the attendees
- How experienced are the attendees (e.g. for Indie London: how big is their business)
- What type of problems do they face
This information will help more experienced speakers tailor their presentation to your audience.
When I reach out to speakers I always try to suggest 1 or 2 topics I think they could speak about that would resonate with the audience.
A couple of days before the event, I reach out again to confirm that they will be attending and to ask to have their slides at least a day before the event.
Going through their slides in advance will help you decide in which order to have the talks. If one of them stands out I would suggest you to schedule it as the last one of your event: you want the pace of your event to go crescendo.
Build a relationship
Take the time to build a relationship with your speakers. Take them out for lunch or coffee. One of the benefit of organising events is that you get to develop special relationships with the amazing people you put on your stage.
It has been a privilege for me to hang out with successful bootstrapped entrepreneurs such as Johnny from TicketTailor, Nitesh from Growth Runner and many more.