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How to Properly Vet Guest Speakers for ERG Events

March 24, 2023
5 min. read

How to Properly Vet Guest Speakers for ERG Events

When it comes to hosting events for employee resource groups (ERGs), one of the most important aspects to consider is who will be speaking at the event. Guest speakers can make or break an event. If they are not properly vetted, they could end up saying something offensive or alienating to attendees, which would reflect poorly on the ERG and its leaders. That's why it's so important to vet potential guest speakers before inviting them to speak at an ERG event.

But how do you properly vet a speaker? And who should be involved in this process? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about vetting guest speakers for ERG events.

Why It's Important to Vet Guest Speakers for ERG Events

From the venue and the food, to the entertainment and the speakers, every detail matters. One of the most important details is making sure that your guest speakers are properly vetted.

There are a few reasons why it's important to make sure that the guest speakers you invite to your event are reputable and qualified to speak on the topics they're discussing. For one, you want to make sure that your attendees are getting accurate information from reliable sources. Additionally, you want to avoid any potential legal issues that could arise from having an unqualified or inexperienced speaker. Lastly, as your ERGs are intended to serve people from underrepresented and/or marginalized communities, your guest speakers need to be good representations or advocates for people from those groups.

How to Properly Vet Potential Guest Speakers

Do Your Research - When you're looking for a guest speaker, it's important to do your research and make sure that they are qualified to speak on the topic you're looking for. A simple Google search can help you find out more about the speaker and their qualifications. Additionally, here are a few resources for finding vetted guest speakers.

  • Awesomely Authentic - a queer-owned, rural-rooted business operating under the belief that diversity, equity, and inclusion work is needed in organizations of all sizes and want to offer an alternative for smaller DEI budgets. Check out their list of guest speakers on their website.
  • Badassery - a marketplace for event organizers to book speakers in 3 clicks or less. The Badassery team believes that having diverse voices up on stage is not only smart business, but it’s simply the right thing to do.

Ask for Referrals - If you know someone who has hosted a similar event in the past, ask for referrals. They may have some great suggestions for guest speakers that you may not have thought of.

Check Out Their Website - Most speakers will have a website or an online portfolio that you can peruse. This is a great way to get a feel for their style and see if they would be a good fit for your event.

Review their materials - Before you invite a speaker to your event, review their materials to make sure that their presentation is appropriate for your audience and aligned with your event goals. You want to have these materials checked and reviewed as early as possible. Most guest speakers should be fine with a 30-minute touchpoint to review the material prior to the event.

See If They Have Any Video Footage - Many speakers will have video footage of previous talks or presentations that you can watch. This is a great way to get an idea of their delivery style and see if they are engaging and entertaining.

Ask Them for References - A good speaker should be able to provide you with references from past clients or events. This is a great way to get an idea of what it would be like to work with them and to see if they are professional and reliable.

Who Should Be Involved in the Vetting Process?

When it comes to choosing guest speakers for your employee resource group's events, it's important to involve as many people as possible in the vetting process. Especially for outside or external speakers, oftentimes you will need the approval of multiple stakeholders before finalizing a speaker.

The ERG leads - This one is pretty straightforward. Your ERG Leads are the people powering your ERGs, so it makes sense that they would be involved in the vetting process. In fact, it's likely that your Leads are the people that found the speaker in the first place. Your Leads will likely be the ones dealing with the speaker directly, so it's important that they're comfortable with the person.

Members of the employee resource group - The people who will be attending the event should have a voice in who speaks at it. After all, they're the ones who will be listening to the speaker! Ideally, you would gather input from your members ahead of the event as they might have ideas or have listened to talks from speakers that would be a good fit.

Human resources - HR should be involved in the vetting process to make sure that the speaker is appropriate for the event and that they won't say anything that could be considered offensive or inappropriate.

Internal communications team - If you want as many people to listen to the speaker as possible (you probably do), then you'll need to promote the event! While your ERG Leads have reach and sway within their members, you want as many people to attend your events as possible. Many companies have limits on who and how company-wide announcements can be made, so it's important to work with your internal communications team to prep messaging that accurately describes the speaker but also matches your company's communications brand.

Your IT and office management team - For in-person or for virtual events, you'll want to work with your IT and office management team to make sure that you have everything the speaker needs to be successful. Some questions to ask:

  • Do we have the right microphone and speaker set up?
  • Do we need a slideshow presentation and clicker?
  • For virtual events, what type of Zoom meeting are we using? A webinar or a traditional meeting?
  • Do we have a meeting room that can hold everyone?

By involving all stakeholders in the vetting process, you can be sure that you'll find the best possible guest speaker for your employee resource group's event.


It's important to vet guest speakers for ERG events in order to ensure that the event is successful. There are a few key things to keep in mind when vetting potential speakers, such as their previous speaking engagements, what they might say during their talk, and whether or not they are familiar with the topic of the event.

Additionally, it's helpful to involve other people in the process of vetting guest speakers so that multiple perspectives can be considered. By following these tips, you can be sure that you'll find the perfect speaker for your next ERG event!

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