Guest speakers are one of the main attractions at a conference, graduation ceremony, special event or meeting, and the best ones are usually booked well in advance. Event organizers need to invite their guest speaker of choice at least six months to one year in advance of the date of the event. A formal letter of invitation ensures that the organizer and the speaker understand the requirements of the event.
If the idea is to attract more attendees, a famous personality may be a good choice for a guest speaker. If the event is focused on a certain aspect of business or technology, a speaker who has particular expertise in the field may give valuable insight to attendees. A highly regarded guest will add prestige to the organization. Whatever the theme of the event, the speaker should be suitable for the event and the audience.
High-profile guest speakers will most probably require a fee or honorarium as well as their travel expenses and accommodation at the event for at least one night. There should be a budget for these expenses, and the size of the budget may be a factor when inviting a speaker. For example, if the speaker requires round-trip air fare it will cost more than if the speaker is from the same or a neighboring city.
There are two ways to select a speaker. One is to select one according to the organization’s budget, and the other is to select the desired person and raise the funds to make it possible.
The letter should be written on good-quality paper with a letterhead if possible and follow standard business letter formatting. The tone should be professional and not frivolous or casual. It is also important to be enthusiastic. This is the best way to convince the invitee that it would be good to give a positive reply to the request. It is recommended to send the letter by regular mail and not by email because emails can get deleted or recognized as spam.
If the person who is sending the invitation has met the invitee before, the time and place should be mentioned in the letter. It is also recommended to mention that the organizer is familiar with and admires the invitee’s work. The following information may be included in the letter if applicable:
• Date and time of entire event
• Date and time the guest will speak
• Amount of time recommended for the speech
• Address or venue of event
• Topic for guest’s speech in as much detail as possible
• Financial arrangements in detail if applicable including travel expenses, accommodation, honorarium or speaker’s fee
• Request for a response by a specific date
Here is a sample invitation to speak letter. The organizer may include a response card and an addressed and stamped envelope to make it easy for the invitee to respond. It should be sent by certified mail, so the sender is informed that the letter was received.
Sample Invitation to Speak Letter
LETTERHEAD OF INSTITUTION
Name of Organizer
Title of Organizer
Address of Organizer
City, State, Zip Code
Name of Invitee
Title of Invitee if applicable
Address of Invitee
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Name of Invitee,
I am writing on behalf of the Student Council of NAME of HIGH SCHOOL. We celebrate our Annual Day on DATE and would like to invite you to attend the festivities and give a 20 minute talk on The Top Environmental Initiatives Happening Today. We have seen you interviewed on television and read your books, and we would like to meet you and learn more about how individuals and governments are turning green.
Every year our Annual Day has a theme that is reflected in all the activities of the school throughout the year. This year the theme is how each person can help reduce environmental pollution. Also in attendance will be three local people who are operating a recycling center in town that has positively impacted waste management in the city.
The Principal, NAME of PRINCIPAL, will inaugurate the Annual Day and the mayor of the city NAME of MAYOR will address the closing ceremony.
It is an honor and privilege to invite you to participate in our Annual Day. We believe that your contribution to environmental awareness is unparalleled, and are looking forward to hearing you speak on the subject. We will cover your travel expenses, meals and accommodation in a local hotel and pay any fee you require.
Thank you for considering our invitation. I hope to receive a positive reply from you by DATE. I have enclosed a card and envelope to make it easier for you to respond. If you have any questions, I can be reached at 555-123-4567 or at Name@email.com.
Signature of Organizer
Printed Name of Organizer
List of enclosures: response card and stamped, addressed envelope
By Andre Bradley