How do I approach speakers?


Speaker Request Template
Speaker Confirmation Email
Speaker Management Template

People constantly ask us what the secret to hosting awesome sold out events is. They always expect us to answer with “If you spend $200 worth of Adwords before the event you will sell out” or “If you send out a newsletter at exactly 2:15am local time, your event will sell out!”. The truth is, it all comes down to getting the best speakers you can get. This will make or break an event.

When reaching out to speakers, there are two crucial questions you must first ask, they are:

  • Will this person educate and inspire a room full of entrepreneurs?
  • Will their personal and company brand create enough excitement to fill the room?

Truly seek out the most amazing speakers available and go after them. Try to avoid speakers that already speak a lot or are not related to tech. Startup Grind focuses on tech related speakers in most cities.  It is always better to know somebody connected to them so avoid cold calls and emails when possible. If there is no way, then leverage Startup Grind’s speakers from the past 2.5 years. Clayton Christensen (Innovators Dilemma), Scott Cook (Intuit), Jessica Livingston (Y Combinator), Ben Horowitz (Andreessen Horowitz).

When contacting potential speakers, be sure to put emphasis on how they are giving back to the local community of entrepreneurs and helping support it. If they seem pressed for time be sure to mention how easy the fireside chat format is and how all they need to do is show up and give us an hour of their time. No need for presentations, memorized speeches, or powerpoint prep.

In the beginning it is OK to start off with medium tier speakers and work your way up from there. Try to leverage the networks of past speakers who had a good experience. As you host monthly events, always try inviting a rockstar speaker every three months or so. This keeps the events interesting and will attract new attendees to your event every quarter.

If you not sure how to reach out to speakers, then use the template below

Speaker Request Template


My name is [YOUR NAME],

I am the Startup Grind Director of [CITY]. Startup Grind is an educational event series for founders hosted in 600 cities, across 125 countries. Startup Grind is powered by Google for Startups.

We have hosted people like Jessica Livingston (YC), Vinod Khosla (Sun Microsystems), Bill Maris (Google Ventures), Ben Silbermann (Pinterest), Steve Blank and many more. We would be honored to host you for an hour with a room full of entrepreneurs.

So far we have hosted some of the most successful entrepreneurs like:


In each event, we reached full capacity at the beautiful venue of [VENUE NAME].

Your charisma makes you a really dynamic and inspirational speaker that our community would love to hear. Happy to jump into a call to discuss in more detail.

Kind Regards,



Startup Grind [CITY]

Chapter Director

Not sure how to confirm speakers, then use the template below

Speaker Confirmation Template

Once you have spoken or got the interest of a speaker, here is a great template to send them to ensure they have all the info they need, you get all the info from them you need, and to set up a time to chat with them. Face-to-face "pre-interviews" are extremely important and really lift your game!

  • Send once you've locked in a date with speaker and the venue
  • Ensure to customize the below (either send to speaker, or to speakers "agent" - or even better... to both :)
 Hi [contact person] or [speaker, if dealing directly with speaker],
Thanks so much for agreeing to the Fireside Chat ;)
As mentioned, below is some info, as well as info I need from you, please. The sooner we can get this, the more we can advertise it. 
Startup Grind strives to  Connect, Inspire and Educate entrepreneurs. We host events in over 600 cities internationally (40 in Africa). [or add in your region etc]
The format of our monthly meetup is 1 hour of networking, which helps with the  Connecting part of our mandate (food and drinks are served).
Then there is a 45 minute fireside chat where I will interview you and the questions are created in a way so as to  Inspire the entrepreneurs in the room on how you managed to make your business/s a success.
We then have a +-15 minute Q&A section where the audience will ask you questions and are  Educated through your answers.
This is followed by drinks and additional connecting to help solidify the relationships discovered that evening.
There is NO preparation needed from your side, you simply need to arrive and answer questions about your journey!
All that is required from you however, is to answer the following:
A.) A guarantee that he/she will be there ;)
As agreed - [insert date AND time]
  • Date: Tuesday, 3 Oct 2019
  • Time: 17:30 (Interview starts at 6:30pm)
  • Venue: Hatfield Hub
  • Address: 440 Hilda Street, Hatfield, 0083
  • Google Maps:
  • Parking: Secure parking directly off Hilda Str. Underground parking below with access straight into the venue. 
B.) 2x Promotional items (or vouchers)
This is to showcase your awesome company, given away as a prize (best tweet & Fish-bowl bcard draw).
C.) High quality head shot/s 
Nothing less than 1024px wide, please
D.) A short Bio 
+-100 words of you and your company/companies
e.) Pre-Meeting
20 minutes of your time on the day of the event, preferably at 3:30pm at the City Lodge in Hilda Str.
The Hashtag for the event will be  #StartupGrind
 You can go here to see our event with Vinny Lingham in April: - and you can go here to see even more past speakers:
Our Social Pages
Kind Regards,

[insert your signature]

How to DM a Speaker via Twitter

Speaker Management Template

This template helps you to manage who you speakers are, who you hoping to get, and who you have had speak - for more info go HERE