Speakers are a huge selling point for your event or conference. That’s true whether they are industry leaders, subject matter experts, media influencers, or Hollywood’s hottest voice for the next generation.
Unfortunately, event organisers consider speaker management to be one of the top items they struggle with. Therefore, when planning your next event, consider what your speakers need from you.
To guide you, we’ll look at three key things event speakers need to succeed:
- Clear expectations
- Audience insights
- Content support
Let’s dive in!
1. Set clear expectations, deliverables, and timelines
Things get hectic leading up to your event. Still, don’t withhold important details from your speakers. Ideally, you should establish “soft” and “drop-dead” timelines for requesting materials.
Make sure to share the following critical conference agenda details in advance:
- Session titles
- Session abstracts
- Learning objectives
- Presentation decks
- Speaker bios
- Handouts, takeaways, etc.
To avoid surprises, make sure to communicate these expectations early on. Loop in speaker support teams as well. This keeps your production schedule on-track.
These are dates by which you would like to have materials. Build these dates into your speaker messaging. Include them in every communication. Present them in bulleted lists or tables. This gives your speakers and their staff a full view of what’s expected.
Receiving materials after this point could delay or disrupt your production flow. These timelines must be realistic. Request regular updates from your teams and help them mitigate possible delays.
2. Share attendee profiles with speakers
Provide speakers with a profile snapshot of your event audience. For example, you could share details such as industry, subject matter interest, and job role.
This helps events speakers prepare and create content that will resonate with attendees. (According to EventMB, this is where planners often miss the mark with speakers.)
Protect your attendee data
Please note that you shouldn’t share all attendee information with your speakers. Doing so could compromise attendee privacy. But you can leverage some of the attendee data you already have.
To do that, you could pull attendee data from your registration provider or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform. Cull that data into high-level details for your speakers.
Here are a few ideas that can be valuable to your speakers:
- How many attendees are senior leaders vs. individual contributors (in percent)?
- What proportion of attendees are facing a specific business challenge?
- Percentage of returning vs. new attendees.
Empower your speakers
To better empower your speakers, use in-depth research to decide which speakers make sense for your event. Try to garner their excitement and buy-in. Help them understand your unique audience. Make sure they are prepared to engage.
Set speakers up for success by sharing who your audience is and what motivates them.
There are tons of options for sharing attendee profiles with your speakers. Conference websites and mobile apps are two popular examples. Provide access to relevant tools with strong, clear calls-to-action in all speaker communications. This should start with their event invitations.
Help your speakers by providing the following:
- A link to your event website
- Instructions to download your event mobile app
- Deadline reminders
- Who to contact with questions
Track engagement in speaker communications. Are they interacting with these resources?
Set up rolling reminder emails as needed.
3. Help event speakers incorporate audience response into session content
Two of the most popular audience response activities include live polling and surveys. These audience engagement tools also provide speakers with valuable insight before the event.
Consider using polls before the event. This will help your speakers weave audience responses into their session content.
Speakers tend to request these tools often. They want to create the best experience for the audience at your event. You can simplify the task of building and managing polls by using a mobile event app.
Your pre-event communications plan should incorporate surveys and polls. This will give you the data to personalise session content. For instance, speakers can display audience answers live during their session. They may also cite specific responses to the poll or survey. This helps attendees feel like active participants.
Collect attendee feedback
Feedback is a great way to measure the success of your events. That’s why you should collect feedback through post-event and post-session evaluations.
Afterwards, you can share these insights with your event speakers. By using attendee responses to specific questions, you’ll help speakers understand their own performance. If you layer individual feedback over the general conference evaluation, each speaker can see how successful their presentation was compared to others.
To protect the privacy of your attendees, make sure to keep their feedback anonymous.
For more information on boosting engagement, visit this page. Looking for more inspiration? Check out “Speakers, Games, and More: 6 Ideas for Memorable Conferences.”
Author: Equal parts voracious reader and passionate writer, Maggie Greene is an expert in communication principles and practices that help drive positive impact for business. As Marketing Manager for Pathable, Inc., she’s customer-obsessed, results-oriented, and dedicated to celebrating the value of highly customizable event app and web solutions for event planners across industries around the globe.