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Finding a speaker for your next virtual meeting

For a large part of this year, and especially now, many of our Affiliated Societies have been unable to hold face to face events in the way they always have. But this does not mean they have to remain dormant. Increasingly groups are switching their meetings from physical to virtual allowing them to continue in a meaningful way and even extending awareness of their group to audiences far beyond local and even national boundaries. Presenting a talk virtually also avoids the problems with travel, particularly on winter evenings

All IA groups have difficulty identifying good speakers for their meetings and adding the requirement of being able to give a talk ‘virtually’ might make that problem even harder.

In the light of this the AIA is creating an index of speakers willing to give IA related talks face-to-face but also, crucially, indicating whether they are willing to present virtually. The list can now be made available to you.

Recipients of the list need to be made aware that:

  • The list is provided only for their group’s use for planning future events
  • The list is not to be passed on to other persons or organisations
  • The inclusion of anyone’s name on the list does not imply any kind of recommendation or endorsement by the AIA
  • Groups must contact and make any arrangements directly with the speaker and that the AIA cannot be involved in any such arrangements

You can get a copy of the list by dropping me a line at

But this list will only grow and become useful if you also contribute to it. Can you or anyone in your group tell us about good speakers you’ve heard who might be willing to speak to other groups? Or would you be able to give a presentation yourself? Just because a talk you heard, or gave, was on a local or specialist topic doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be of wider interest. Adding a slide to set your local topic in context might very well be all you need to give it appeal all across the country.

So please send me the names and email addresses of speakers which you think might be included on the list for the benefit of others. You don’t need to get a lot of information from the people you propose. We will do the necessary work of approaching them and gaining their permission to be added to the list and other necessary details. To tell us about a speaker or to get on the list yourself contact me at

And if you need more information or help with setting up online meetings I am very willing to help. Technically it is not difficult to do. When I set up my first Zoom meeting I was amazed how easy it was and I know many other non-technical people who have found the same thing. The cost is small – typically far less than the cost of hiring a hall for an evening. If you haven’t already done so, you should give it a try!

I have been having technical difficulties with the software supporting the Events Diary on the website but this has been resolved with a change to a simpler, but still effective, system. So if this post encourages you to arrange some events, or you have already done so, please let me know about them and I shall be delighted to include them.

Bill Barksfield

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