Criteria for recommending speakers

Please fill in as much information as you can about the proposed speaker on the form but in-depth research is definitely not required!In order to keep to our timetable (outlined below) normally only those suggestions which are submitted prior to the AGM of the current session can be considered.


S/he should:

  • be a person of distinction and reputation in his/ her discipline or area of renown
  • have proven experience and acknowledged skill in communicating with non-specialist audiences, this is often seen by viewing published websites
  • be willing to engage in a lively Q and A session
  • be willing to speak without a fee
  • not have lectured to the Society in the past five years.


Speakers are selected around 16 months prior to the beginning of the year in which they will give their lectures. For example, as year 2019/20 begins, the programme for year 2020/21 is virtually complete (barring the usual caveats re accidents, acts of God, etc.). We are therefore looking for speakers whose acclaimed area is likely to endure this length of time.

The Speaker Group, a sub-committee of Council, chaired by a Vice President or other senior office bearer, is composed of about eight members of Council, each having knowledge in one or more of the topic areas normally covered in our lecture programme, viz. Medicine, Arts and Humanities, Sciences, Social Sciences, Business, Law, Public Affairs, etc. The Speaker Group meets shortly after the AGM in April to consider the long list of suggestions (in April 2019 this list consisted of around 130 names). The Group recommends to Council around 30 names, spread across the topic areas and prioritises these recommendations for the President to invite. Ideally the programme should be more or less in place by October /November of the current session.

The Speaker Group can also meet throughout the year, depending on the number of suggestions for speakers we receive, to develop the long list.

In drawing up the programme the speaker Group considers: Breadth of topics; Gender balance; Geographical spread, and of course, the availability of speakers.