Having a great guest speaker at your event can elevate it to something special that attracts a bigger audience.
The first step to bringing a guest speaker to your conference or event is to reach out to them and send a speaker invitation letter.
How do you write a speaker invitation letter?
We’ve got everything you need to get your invite just right, so you’ll include everything your invitee will need to know and give you a great chance of getting a positive response.
Specifically, we’re going to give you:
- Our six step process to getting your letter right
- The ten best speaker gifts you can offer during your event
- A quick guide to finding the right guest speakers for your event
Let’s get to it.
Table of Contents
How to Write a Speaker Invitation Letter in 6 Simple Steps
Bonus: How to Find Speakers for Your Event
How to Write a Speaker Invitation Letter in 6 Simple Steps
You need to have a strong speaker invitation letter to ensure that it gets opened, read, and replied to – hopefully with a positive!
Sending an email to a potential guest speaker means you need to include some specific details as well as a little bit of creative flair.
Here are all the steps you need to take to nail your letter of invitation.
Step #1: Get the subject line right
The very first thing you need to get right when inviting a keynote speaker to your event is the subject line.
Think about how many emails you got on any given day last week; now think how many of those emails went unread.
The subject line of a speaker request letter can be the difference between getting read and replied to, or getting ignored so you need to make it personal and informative.
According to a study of 12 million cold outreach emails by Backlinko, a personalized subject line gets up to one-third more responses.
This can be as simple as using your recipient’s name in the subject line, along with some information about the invitation.
Here are a couple of sample invitation letter subjects lines you can consider emulating:
Step #2: Use the right title
As simple as it sounds, it’s important to address your formal invitation letter properly.
Be sure to research the right way to address the person you’re approaching, whether it’s to be a speaker at a graduation ceremony or a major business event.
You may need to address them as Dr, Professor, Ms, Mr, or any other title – you’ll likely find this on professional profiles in places like LinkedIn or on their business or faculty page.
Step #3: Make the invite straight away
Now you’re into the body text of your email, you want to make sure your invitee knows exactly what you’re asking of them.
Your opening paragraph needs to give the headline details of the event and be clear that you’re asking the person to be a speaker there.
A letter sample for this section could look like this:
Leave your invitee in no doubt about what you’re asking of them so they know if it’s in their interest to keep reading to the next section.
Step #4: Explain about your organization and event
Now your potential speakers know the main details about your special event, you need to give them more information.
It’s important to explain who you and your organization are as an incentive to accept your invitation.
You can add social proof by giving brief details about past events and previous speakers if your event has been held before and explain who your audience is.
This will help your contact person understand the purpose of the event and if it’s truly worth it for them.
Here’s how that part of a guest speaker invitation letter might look:
You want your business letter inviting a speaker to your event to give clear reasons why this person needs to say “yes”.
Step #5: Outline specific requirements
Your next paragraph in our letter format is where you explain the details of what you’re asking from the potential speaker.
This includes information such as:
- How long you’d like them to speak for
- The topics you’d like them to cover
- Whether the event will be live-streamed
- If they need to be on a panel or to take questions
- If you’d like them to share the event with their audience
Bear in mind, you’ll be able to get into much more detail once they’ve accepted your invite – at this point you just want to give an overview of what you’re looking for so they know if it’s within their wheelhouse.
An invitation letter example for this section would look something like this:
Giving this information upfront will let them know in the first round of communication how their speech will reach audiences and what that audience is interested in.
Step #6: Give a strong call-to-action
To conclude your event or meeting invitation letters, you need to explain the next steps with a strong call-to-action (CTA).
Even though this isn’t a sales email or pitch, you’re still asking for something so good guest speaker letters make that clear.
You should also add a deadline for their reply so that you can move on through your invitation schedule to the next potential speakers on your list if they do turn you down.
The last paragraph of an invitation letter template could be this:
That’s all of our speaker invitation writing tips, now let’s check out some of the best ideas for speaker gifts you can offer.
10 Great Speaker Gift Ideas
Generally speaking, you’ll need to offer payment to your guest speakers and cover their travel expenses.
On top of that, it’s a thoughtful gesture to offer speaker gifts when they arrive at your event.
This will leave a lasting impression of your generosity and will also put branded items into the hands of people who are important in your industry or sector.
These are some great speaker gift ideas:
- A computer backpack
- A premium notebook and pen set
- A crossbody padfolio
- A wine bag
- A journal tool belt
- Bluetooth headphones
- A bamboo lap desk
- A wireless charger and headphone stand
- A zippered pouch
- A reusable water bottle
Time to check out what they’re all about.
1. Computer backpack
You can be sure that a speaker traveling to your event will appreciate a computer backpack.
After all, who doesn’t travel with a laptop nowadays?
A new place to store their computer and other business tools like notepads and pens will always be appreciated and your tasteful branding will be seen whenever the person travels.
Author’s Tip: Branded backpacks are printable or can be embroidered, depending on your logo and your needs.
2. Premium notebook with pen set
You’ve probably seen when you’re at a conference, the best speakers and attendees take notes, so a premium notebook with pen set is a great idea.
It’s possibly one of the most practical gifts you can give to a speaker – they will be able to use it throughout their time at your event and take it away to be used again.
Event organizers should be sure to offer a premium notebook to all speakers and other VIPs at their conference since it’s both thoughtful and useful.
3. Crossbody padfolio
Is your speaker going to move across different halls and workshop spaces during your event? A crossbody padfolio is a great gift if so.
This item offers all the benefits of a padfolio, with space for items like:
- A tablet
- A notebook
- Business cards
And loads of other items you’d expect a busy conference speaker to need.
Even better, this padfolio comes with an adjustable shoulder strap so they can keep their hands free as they move through your venue.
4. Wine bag
A wine bag is a great gift when your guest speakers are wine connoisseurs.
It’s insulated to keep red and white wines at the perfect temperature and has two separate compartments so bottles don’t get smashed together.
You even get a corkscrew included in the bag!
Elevate this speaker gift further by including a couple of bottles of your local or favorite wine to show a little extra appreciation for your speaker.
5. Journal tool belt
With our hands full of so many things at conferences, a journal tool belt can be super handy.
It’s an attachment that fits around a journal and has compartments to store items like mobile phones, styluses, and pens.
Give your guests a journal to attach it to as an extra kind speaker gift.
6. Bluetooth headphones
You should be offering premium tech swag to your event speakers – a USB stick won’t quite cut it but Bluetooth headphones are a great gesture.
They’re a less common choice for speaker gifts but are an item you can be sure will be used for a long time to come.
The recipient is going to associate your brand with enjoying audiobooks or their favorite music, which is always a good thing.
7. Bamboo lap desk
For people who are always working on the go, a bamboo lap desk is a great gift.
It can be used when you’re working on an uneven surface or want to keep track of your work items on a long train journey.
Because it’s made of bamboo, it’s also super sustainable and should last a lifetime, making it a great investment when you want to give a worthwhile gift.
8. Wireless charger and headphone stand
Another tech-themed swag item to give to your guest speakers is a wireless charger and headphone stand.
We all know what it’s like taking endless zoom calls when you’re working from home and you’re constantly searching for your headphones.
Having a dedicated stand that looks sleek and unobtrusive is a great answer.
This stand also has wireless charging capabilities, meaning anyone with one of the latest mobile devices can simply leave their phone on the stand and let it juice up.
9. Zippered pouch
A zippered pouch is another super-useful conference or event item to give to a speaker.
This pouch can be used to keep conference odds and ends such as:
- Your phone
- Your room key
- Small swag items
- Your power bank
With everything at arm’s length, your guest will have a much more enjoyable conference after making their keynote speech.
10. Reusable bottle
The last item on our list of perfect speaker gifts is a reusable water bottle.
This is the type of item that people seek out at conferences – it’s eco-friendly and can be really stylish and handy to have around.
Invest in good quality water bottles that are made of recyclable materials and are insulated to keep drinks at the right temperature; this makes them even more valuable.
Now you’ve got all the inspiration you need for your speaker gifts, we’re moving on to our tips for finding a speaker for your next event.
Bonus: How to Find Speakers for Your Event
Finding speakers can be one of the biggest roadblocks you come up against when planning your event.
It’s all well and good knowing how to write the application letter to invite them, but you need to find potential speakers first.
Here are our top three tips for finding the right speaker for your event.
Listen to your audience
Your event is all about your audience – they’re the ones who will make it a success.
As you start to plan your event, engage with your audience through channels like:
- Your email list
- Your social media accounts
- Talking to your personal network
Ask them who they find inspirational, who they trust, and who they would go to for industry or career advice.
These are the people you should start sending your invitations to.
Find thought leaders in your niche
There are people in every niche who are respected and seen as an authoritative voice.
It’s more than likely they earned that authority through speaking at events and offering their audience valuable insight.
Seek out thought leaders on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter and see if they will have something interesting to offer your attendees.
Use social media
Social media is a great place to discover interesting people in your niche to be guest speakers.
As we’ve just noted, LinkedIn is one of the obvious places to discover people saying interesting things in your industry.
You can also access professional groups on Facebook and reach out to people who have an audience they connect with as well as on Instagram, for example.
That’s just about everything you need to know about writing a speaker invitation, so let’s bring this to a close.
Now Over to You
That’s everything you need to know about inviting potential speakers to your event.
From getting your letter written to the gifts you can offer when your speakers arrive at your venue, you now have a good understanding of how it’s done.
We’ve even offered some insight into where you can find inspiring people to talk at your next event.
Want to get stocked up on your speaker gifts for your next event?
Complete the contact form below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Featured image by Product School on Unsplash.