How to Bring a Speaker

12 SIMPLE STEPS TO HEAR THE LECTURE OF YOUR DREAMS

Bringing in a speaker can be a great way to spark ideas on our campus and generate an educated conversation about issues relevant to us today. As a student or campus group, you may be interested in having these kinds of lecture events but might not know how to go about bringing a lecturer to campus. This page is designed to provide you with informative links and a helpful guide to the resources available here at UNC to bring speakers to campus.

Best of luck organizing your event, and feel free to reach out to us (Speakers at Carolina) with questions or concerns you have as you go through the process of organizing a speaker event!

1.  USE YOUR NOODLE

The first thing you need to be asking is, “Who should I bring?” While you may have some names in mind, it’s worth thinking about who your audience is, what topics /issues you want to highlight, and what field(s) this talk is relevant to.

  • Create a list

  • Identify your top speakers

  • Rank backups and secondary speakers you’d want to contact

  • Check on who is already coming to campus: Speakers at Carolina

  • Reach out to departments and professors about who they might recommend bringing

2. FUNDING


3. RESEARCH YOUR SPEAKER

  • Connect your speaker with different aspects of Carolina: Departments, Initiatives, or Groups on campus and find ways to maximize their impact on campus:

UNC Student Government, Campus Y, CUAB, Carolina Creates

  • Know why you’re bringing your speaker. Having a strong argument for bringing your speaker will also help with funding requests.


4. CONNECT WITH YOUR SPEAKER

  • Determine the best way to reach out to your speaker: alumni, faculty, group on campus, etc., or directly

  • Find how to contact them: often they will have an office address, assistant’s email, or agent’s email listed

  • Draft a Letter to send via mail and email: here is an example template

  • Send the hard copy letter and follow up with an email


5. PICK A DATE

After you’ve heard from your speaker of choice, the next step is picking a date for the event. See what other events are going on (UNC Events Calendar). Find out what time frame your speaker is available to come to campus and have several dates ready that would work for you to host a speaker.


6. PICK A VENUE

Pick a venue based on the size, time, and format of the event you are looking to host. How many people will be attending? How formal is it? What budget do we have for a space? Is this primarily a discussion or lecture based event?

Many, but not all, spaces on campus can be reserved with the following links:

7. NEGOTIATE ANY HONORARIUMS

Speaker Honorariums, the fee the speaker or agency asks for lectures given by the speaker, can be variable in amount depending on the speaker, and they may or may not include related expenses such as transportation, lodging, meals, and other speaker costs (book signing, media interviews, additional events, receptions, etc.). Know how much you or your organization is able to afford, and be able to determine the proper honorarium with your speaker.

8. CONFIRM YOUR SPEAKER

Go ahead, make the confirmation! Often it is best to have a preferred date and a back-up date for your venue when reaching out to confirm a final date.

9. FIGURE OUT WHO YOU SHOULD BE IN CONTACT WITH
Ask who you should be in contact with as you plan your event (your speaker, your speaker’s assistant, etc.), and follow up periodically with updates about event planning. You should continue to contact the appropriate person as the event gets closer to arrange and confirm event details.

10.  EVENT PLANNING

  • Make sure to ask about how your speaker plans to arrive on campus and whether you need to arrange transportation for them

  • Consider food and/or catering, event programs, venue details (podium, flowers, projection equipment), ticketing, etc.

  • These resources may be able to help you: Carolina Union Events Management (Union Box Office, Union Production Services, Event Planning), Carolina Union Marketing and Design Team (designing flyers and logos), UNC Print Shop (printing flyers)


11. PUBLICIZE YOUR EVENT
Think of ways to creatively publicize your event. Unique ways of publicizing your event often stand out amongst the many other student groups trying to get the word out about their events. Some examples of basic ways you should publicize your event include:
1. Posting flyers around campus, such as in the Union and in Residence Halls
2. Being mentioned in local media (DTH, WXYC)
3. Utilizing social media outlets (creating a Facebook event & inviting friends, Tweeting)
4. Painting a cube in the Pit: Cube Reservations
5. Having a table in the Pit and handing out fliers: Pit Reservations

6. List your event on the Speakers at Carolina Calendar
7. Sending out a blurb about your event on campus listservs:

In order to do this last step, you should write a concise paragraph describing your event. This blurb should be short and sweet, designed to catch your reader’s attention quickly and to provide them with just enough information to make them want to attend. After writing the blurb, contact the administrators of the listservs and ask them to (please) include it in their weekly or monthly email to their members. Listservs you may want to contact include those of organizations and departments that may find your event relevant, as well as any other groups you and your members may already work with.

The creation of a design team is often useful for publicity. A design team can brainstorm ideas for sharing information about your event as well as creating useful PR tools like logos and flyers. Also consider reaching out to the Carolina Union Marketing and Design Team for help designing your event materials.

12.  THE EVENT
Before your event begins, make sure to have your speaker do a microphone check to ensure that there are no technological glitches during the lecture. Also, if your speaker requests anything, such as a bottle of water, have that ready and on-stage before the lecture begins.

  • Remind people to attend!

  • Make sure everything goes smoothly during the event and help clean up afterwards

  • After your event is over, make sure to follow up and thank the speaker with a kind gift and letter