Infinity Consulting and Training Solutions

Insider Secret: How to Bring Big Time Speakers to Your ATD Chapter on a Shoestring Budget

By using this potent and supercharged approach, any local ATD Chapter can make a killer impression and get big time speakers to come to their chapter for a fraction of the speaker’s costs.

2015 ATDMexicoSummit_Sardek LoveMy career as a professional speaker began in 2000, and since then I’ve crisscrossed the U.S. presenting at many of the 125 local chapters of the Association for Talent Development (formerly known as the American Society for Training and Development). Like many speakers who are blessed to be in high demand from a global client base, my schedule fills up months in advance creating limited windows of opportunities to participate and support local chapter events.

So how can local ATD chapters attract the best speakers in the industry who have limiting schedules without breaking the bank?

Based on a decade of coaching and advising ATD chapter leaders, I’m revealing 5 insider secret tactics every chapter can use to make a pitch that will cause big time speakers to say YES to your invitation.

Here’s what you do:

Target Speakers Who are Current and Former ATD Volunteers

Many great speakers are hidden in plain sight because they are among you. Just as I did back in the early 2000s, many of ATD’s most popular speakers cut their teeth by serving on committees where they are blessed to have the opportunity to deliver presentations to chapters. Excellent speakers are often current or former members of the following ATD groups:

Attend the Chapter Leaders Conference and participate in the various opportunities to network with other current and former chapter leaders. By doing so, you will build the relationships necessary to influence people to come to your chapter at minimal cost.

Target Speakers Who Speak at ATD Conferences

With its size, credibility, and bold expansion into international markets, ATD conferences are a magnet for the best and brightest global experts. Furthermore, ATD has a proven track record for creating a marvelous experience for speakers, which significantly enhances your chapter’s chances of getting a quality speaker to say YES to your invite. By attending and / or following the various conference twitter feeds, you can easily identify the people who will create a sensational experience for your chapter members and guests.

Target Facilitators of ATD Educational Programs

As the world’s largest association for talent development professionals, ATD serves members in more than 120 countries and proudly boasts that it has 90 of the world’s best facilitators. Many of the facilitators are published authors and wildly popular speakers. By using the variety of search options on their website, you can easily identify speakers with expertise in your areas of interest. I’m often contacted by chapters because they see that I facilitate the ATD Master Trainer designation program and several certificate programs on the topics of leadership, training, and consulting skills.

Target Speakers Who are Published by ATD

Any organization that publishes content likes to get the authors in front of people as often as possible as part of the marketing process. ATD is in the enviable position of having a large majority of authors who are pretty darn good speakers. I thoroughly enjoy listening to authors Elaine Biech and Jonathan Halls because they are experts who are engaging and thought-provoking presenters. Use the following ATD publications to find the speakers who will amaze your audience:

  • Magazines
    • TD Magazine
    • The Public Manager
  • Community of Practice Blogs
  • Books
  • TD at Work (formerly known as Infolines)
  • Newsletters
  • Research Reports
  • Webinars

Target Speakers with Great Ratings from Other ATD Chapters

The annual Chapter Leaders Conference is an excellent place to make connections and to identify speakers other chapters have had a great experience with. Experts like Paul Signorelli, Larry Straining, Walt Hansmann, and Coline Son Lee are just a few people who are well-known for using innovative approaches to leave an audience glistening with high levels of confidence on newly acquired skills and knowledge. So actively seek out the word-of-mouth referrals, and you’ll get a treasure trove of speakers like me who thoroughly enjoy supporting your chapter events as much as your chapter enjoys having us as your partners in success.

The Floor is Yours

What other strategies have your chapter used to lure in big name speakers? Please share them in the comments below.

Why Bring Sardek to Your Chapter?

Sardek is an extremely popular and highly sought-after speaker. In 2015, he presented at the following ATD conferences:

  • The annual Middle East North Africa (MENA) conference (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
  • The annual International Conference and Exposition (Orlando, FL) as a “back-by-popular demand” speaker
  • The annual Government Workforce Learning Innovations Conference (Washington, DC). Served as the conference emcee.
  • The ATD Mexico Summit Keynote speaker

How To Bring Sardek to Your Chapter:

Would you like to bring Sardek to you chapter for free? Visit our Resources for Meeting Planners page and contact us to learn how we can do it for your chapter just as we did for the Piedmont (Greensboro, NC) and the Orange County (CA) ATD chapters.

To Learn More about Sardek’s Speaking Topics:

Visit our Keynotes and Motivational Speeches page. Contact us to learn about presentations that are customized to meet the unique needs of ATD chapters and their members.

For more tips and strategies on any and everything training, email us at, explore the rest of this website, subscribe to this blog, and follow me on social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook). By doing so, you will gain access to leading edge research on management and leadership development and have access to daily inspirational and motivational quotes that will drive your success trajectory upward. So don’t delay, follow me and think yourself to success today!


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