Chances are that you've had fantastic lineup of speakers at your past events. Whether they just knew how to interact with your crowd or presented useful information beautifully, your attendees loved them and may still be talking about them years later. And chances are that you are counting the minutes until you can invite them back. But when you call one of these speakers to extend that invitation, have you received a lukewarm response? Are they not thrilled to work with you and your attendees again? Well, then it's time to take a look at your event planning checklist for your speakers. 

Wait ... You don't have an event planning checklist for your speakers? That's the first problem. Speakers are the backbone of your event and you"ll want to work with your best ones again. So taking the time to ensure you are creating a relationship of respect with them is an important aspect of meeting planning. 

If you're ready to create a meaningful relationship with your speakers, here's the start of an event planning checklist for happy speakers at your next event:
  1. Invite local speakers: There is some comfort in being able to speak in your home city where you do not have to be away from work and your family. You can also sleep in your own bed, and a better night's sleep means a better presentation. So your first step should always be to look into who is available to you in your host city. In Cincinnati, we have a wealth of speakers locally that are fantastic for small and big conferences. With companies such as  Procter & Gamble  and  Macy’s  headquartered here, there is a vast amount of knowledge that any Cincinnati-hosted conference can bring in without the travel costs of other speakers. 
  2. Have speakers help with the marketing: The best speakers already have a library of content. Why not tap into it to market your event? Ask them if you can republish one of their blog posts or repurpose another piece of content. Plus, they may even create something specifically for your event like a video to invite your attendees to the event. You get some help marketing your event and the speakers get their name out there more as an expert. 
  3. Provide speakers the event information: Your speakers likely have people in their network that would be interested in your event, so make sure they have all of your event information, including the link to register. They will likely share it via social networks and through email. It provides them with a bit of content and they’ll be happy to have possible friendly faces in the audience.
  4. Ask your speakers what they need: This may be a no-brainer, but make sure they have resources available to them. Simply ask them and make sure you have those items for them the day of the event. And if it’s something that could fail, like WiFi, make sure to test it, so that your speakers can be at their best when it’s show time. 
  5. Allow early access to the room: A great speaker has a presentation completely planned out; from anecdotes to particular movements. Getting speakers into their respective rooms early will give them a chance to practice and possibly tweak the presentation.
  6. Give unique speaker gifts: A generic speaker gift is okay, but it won’t make your conference memorable to a speaker. Try finding one that would be truly unique to your organization. Or if your speaker is sticking around awhile, pair up with your local CVB and put together an adventure in your host city based on your speakers’ interests. 
  7. Let them stay for the whole conference: Not every speaker will take this opportunity, but it’s a sign of goodwill. It lets you speakers know that you respect and value them. And that is the basis of a great relationship. 

How do you create a great relationship with your speakers? What is your best tip?