I often get asked about how I recruit our diverse and rising leaders for our Testim Community events. Whether you are in our software quality and development industry or any sector, it’s crucial that you make your speakers feel like the VIP stars that they are in every step of your meetup production.
As a self-proclaimed stage mom (think hybrid of Kris Jenner and talent agent), here are 10 tips to help you recruit and (most importantly) celebrate your next meetup speaker(s):
1. Identify diverse and rising leaders that you admire. You can always ask your other community builders for help.
2. Find a blog or talk of theirs and consume it. Highlight the parts that you enjoyed and share authentically in outreach message.
3. Share that you would love to celebrate their leadership and ask if they are keen to be a VIP guest speaker at an upcoming talk. Share a link to a past event that you have produced.
4. Be flexible with time and ask them for availability via pro Calendly link.
5. When you meet, actively listen to the top 3 parts of their leadership brand that they care the most about speaking to.
6. Write their abstract for approval and guide them with questions that you would like to cover in google doc in advance of recording.
7. Share social promo plan in advance of event with CTAs for approval.
8. Start promoting a minimum of 3 weeks prior with one social media touch point per week. Include a video promo to build hype.
9. Open VIP speaker room 15 minutes before event so they can share a laugh, ask any questions, and/or review non-verbal cues to transition questions. Remember that many speakers, new or experienced, are still anxious. It’s your job to put them at ease.
10. Promote the hell out of the event recording upon completion, considering transcribing talk in Otter.ai and using for blog. Continue the conversation in your community. And repeat process.
Bonus Tip: You should also highlight rising leaders more as a meetup organizer. These engineers have less at stake when it comes to public brand and most importantly, offer new and innovative ways to scale test automation and software quality.
It’s important to note that in 2020, 60% of our speakers in the Testim Community were women-identifying and 40% leaders from diverse backgrounds. There is no talent pipeline issue and it’s up to us meetup organizers and community builders to continue to do better.
I hope that my Stage Mom tips help you continue to improve how you recruit and celebrate your next meetup speakers. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and if you have questions, just drop them in the comments!