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How to Get the Most out of Your Conference Speaker – And Keep Them Happy

    Written by Jing Yi Gao on September 26, 2017


Speakers make up a huge part of an event’s run down. They may also be the reason why some attend the event. Speaker budgets are not a piece of cake, so how can event planners get the most out of their investments and keep speakers happy at the same time? To get the most out of your conference speakers, you need to clarify some things first. The 3 things you should think through thoroughly are your audience, goals, and budget.  Having a solid understanding of these three factors will help you to manage your speakers more efficiently while maximizing your investment.


Who is your audience? What are their preferred learning styles? Are they looking to be entertained, inspired, or educated? Older generations of attendees are more familiar with the old fashion speaking presentations and don’t need much discussion during the session. They don’t want to be interrupted during their thought process and are more likely to engage in discussions outside of the session.  However, the younger generations require a much more interactive approach to learning. Younger audiences expect more than just PowerPoint slides. According to Jeff Cobb, co-founder of Tagoras, speakers are expected to publish articles, do interviews, and participate in different aspects of the event.


What are you trying to accomplish from that speaker? If you are looking for recognition and more sponsorships, a more famous speaker would do the job. However, if the content is more of the focus, then an industry insight professional can best educate your participants.


The last of the three is understanding your budget. The speaker budget of events can truly be a limiting factor for many, but it doesn’t need to stop you from finding the right speakers. Do keep in mind, famous or professional speakers can get costly. While celebrity speakers attract more sponsors, it may not necessarily fit for your audience. One good example by Event Manager Blog is, “Does Deepak Chopra’s keynote on mind-body wellness make sense for sales conference? Unless they are selling something to do with wellness, probably not! Keep your audience in mind, and remember that for most of your participants, learning and networking opportunities trump flashy celebrity speaker names when it means choosing whether or not to attend.”


Now that we got those 3 basics out of our way, here are some tips to get the most out of your conference speakers!


  1. Ask them to promote and engage prior to the event

Your speakers should put forth an effort to promote the events in which they are paid to speak! Although they don’t have to, all you need to do is ask. Social media can be an excellent platform for free promotion. They don’t need millions of followers to help promote your event. Simple and engaging posts with the event hashtag on their accounts or groups is a great start. Other ideas include writing blogs, hosting webinars, short promo teasers, contributing to the public press by mentioning your event in interviews, or simply having them reach out to fellow influencers.


  1. Be clear on what equipment your speakers need

This can easily be done in an email or two. It’s important to be on the same page. Technical problems take away time from both the speakers and attendees. Simple things like ensuring your speakers know how to work through their PowerPoint slides can help them present the session better.


  1. Organize a committee to review speaker submissions

This can really come in handy when there are many speakers who all seem to have different presentation tools. By having a group of your team review these materials you can reduce the risk of problems during your event significantly. You don’t need to go over every piece word by word, but making sure the layout and format are consistent with their objective and presentation can help your attendees focus better on the content, making the sessions go smoother.


There you go, 3 tips on how to get the most out of your speakers while keeping them happy. If you can understand the details of your audience, your goals, and your budget, while exercising these tips, your speaker sessions will be out of this world!


Interested in showcasing your speakers and drive exposure to them? See how Socio does it!


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