Does your speaker feel like a King?

It is not content that is King: it is the speaker who reigns.

As we all know there is no point having great content if it is delivered in the dullest, blandest and most boring fashion. Speakers are at the heart of any event that delivers learning. We all know this. None of this is news to the savvy planner of course and no doubt everyone is nodding away. But the question I’d ask is: does your speaker feel like a King?

How do you make your speaker feel like a King?

With our first Gallus Event of the year only a couple of weeks away I’ve redrafted the information we send to our speakers. My aim is to make them feel as supported and as valuable as possible.

They are so crucial to our conferences I’ve asked myself what do I do – as the event planner – to make them feel great? Do I add as much value to their engagement as possible? The answer of course is no: I am but human! There is, however, so much more than we planners – mere mortals – can do to ensure our speakers feel like royalty.

So here’s a list of twelve things that planners can do to add more value to speakers. I’d say it’s unlikely that your organisation would be able to do all twelve, but surely half of them isn’t too much to ask? We’ve set the mark at 8 – 10 for our events.

You may notice that I’ve missed out “PAY THEM A FEE” because that is the area for a separate and not unrelated blog post.

I hope this provides a good benchmark to how we treat the most valuable of resources at our learning events: our speakers. Here’s some things for you to think about when you are signing up your speakers:

  1. Start with this statement: “We want to take a proactive approach in supporting our speakers to help them raise their profile. So tell us: what would you like us to do to support your session / how can we ensure you get the most out of speaking for us?”
  2. Can you add speaker’s social media links on all of their sessions on the event website, in email communications and on the event app?
  3. Do you use all of your social media channels to highlight speakers involvement and to encourage discussions and attendee engagement before and after the event?
  4. Can you provide speakers with an email mailing list of all of the attendees who attend their particular session? Or perhaps details of all those attendees who selected an interest in the area in which the speaker is knowledgeable?
  5. Do you upload to the event app or the event website information (not their presentation) that speakers think will be of interest to delegates pre / post event?
  6. Can you proactively support speakers who want to poll attendees before the event?
  7. Can you provide truly useful feedback on their sessions to help them improve as a speaker?
  8. How about offering a free to attend speaker training course for them to hone their skills?
  9. It is important to regularly update your speakers on whom is attending their session
  10. Allow them access to all conference areas for example the hosted buyer lounge or any VIP lounges
  11. Offer a speaker zone: somewhere in your event space where speakers can have meetings, refresh and recharge
  12. Can you facilitate and offer the opportunity for speakers to invite delegates to 1.2.1 meetings?

These are all pretty manageable and easy ways to add value to speakers. What they also do, in most cases, is add a lot of value for your attendees. An increased awareness and access to your King like speakers can only lead to a better understanding of their fantastic content. And of course a better event.