Bringing a Speaker to Your Event? Check This List August 4, 2012

Bringing a Speaker to Your Event? Check This List

Ted Cox put together a checklist for Secular Student Alliance groups that invite speakers to their school (but the list applies to any group, really). As someone who’s been to places where some of these items were, um, not followed, I agree wholeheartedly:

6) Pick the right room. Sure, we speakers would love to address an auditorium packed with hundreds of bodies. But, realistically, it’s hard to fill those big lecture halls where you used to doze off during biology classes. A smaller, packed room will have a way better vibe than a larger room with empty seats.

13) Promote your event.

14) Promote your event.

15) Please, for the love of Spongebob, promote your f****** event. For a speaker, nothing sucks worse than putting in hundreds of hours creating a speech, editing a slideshow, taking time off work and then flying across the country to talk a room with just nine people. Promote your events. Table on campus. Slap up posters everywhere. Post it on Facebook. Tweet it. Announce it in the school newspaper. Get another campus group to co-sponsor. Reach out to the local community. Tell your mom. The SSA has a ton of resources available for promotion ideas.

Also, please promote your event.

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  • Xjustos


    how the divine pen of Michel Nostradamus crushed the international atheist movement

    for lies on top of lies

    do you think you can threaten my right to FREE SPEECH?

    what if I told you that I am not who you think I am….

    Not Dennis Markuze – but a FAN!


    you’re not the center of the universe!


    a dishonest liar

  • CS42
  • dorothy30

    don’t worry too much if there isn’t a large audience, just smile for the camera. I have listened to dozens (probably hundreds) of excellent presentations and debates on YouTube while doing household chores. You reach many more people via internet than could ever attend in person. PS you’re a great speaker 🙂

  • PegK

    I would like to promote an upcoming event.  If you are in the Wichita, KS area on Sept. 21st, please come to hear Barry Lynn from America’s United for Separation of Church and State speak on “A NEW DEFINITION OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM:  THE FRAUD OF FUNDAMENTALISM.”  Just visit for more information on the event.  Thanks!

  • Michael

    Sounds like good advice… but hundreds of hours preparing for a lecture?  Really?

  • So…not such a big show in Omaha?

  • They had over 200 people, which is pretty impressive for a local conference! 🙂

  • NickDB

     That is excellent advice for anyone asking anyone to present anything. From DJ’s to Tech presentations demonstrations to Chefs.

  • Ted Cox here. Yes, literally hundreds of hours go into preparing for a lecture. First, there’s research, interviews, and collecting content that makes up the meat of the presentation.

    Then there’s assembling the speech, which requires outlines, designing slides, finding images and videos, adding text, and picking transitions. Then there’s revision after revision after revision, then rehearsing, followed by more revisions.

    And as I talk about timely, relevant topics, that means I constantly add new information to my speeches. I have never given the exact same speech twice. If a joke doesn’t get a reaction from an audience, I have to find something else that works.

    After the speech, one question from a confused audience member means I may go back and tweak, clarify, or delete or slide or even an entire section. A news development may make a slide irrelevant.

    Then there all the arrangements that go into speaking engagements. Sometimes over a hundred emails are sent back and forth between the student groups, speakers, schools and the SSA. Planes seats must be booked. Hotels must be booked. Drivers must be found.

    And this doesn’t include the work done by students contacting their administrators, tabling, designing posters, promoting the event, obtaining funding, or asking questions.

    So, yes, hundreds of hours of work go into every single speech. And you know what? It’s absolutely fucking worth it. When you walk into a packed room, and the student group leaders look around at what our combined hard work accomplished, you can’t help but smile. Even when things go wrong, you got out for beers later and say, “OK, this is what we’ll do different next time.”

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