Speakers are perhaps the most important thing at a conference. If we want to get the most out of our conferences we have to demand more from conference speakers.
Content is many things but one thing it is not, is king!
This is because keeping Royalty is expensive and many, far too many, conferences are loathed to pay people to deliver creative, exciting and innovative content.
When content is treated as a pauper your attendees are poorer for it.
Unfortunately, in the past it really was “good enough” to deliver poor content at conferences.
People would still attend and no doubt comment that the conference was “OK”.
Now, if you have a conference that is only delivering “OK” content it won’t be OK for very long.
Pay for well delivered content from conference speakers
I’ve often written about the need to pay, or deliver significant value to, speakers. Organisers pay for everything else, so why not the MOST IMPORTANT part of a conference programme: tailored content.
Now, as an organiser of many conferences I understand the resistance from the paymasters as well as the organisers themselves.
So I am suggesting something that balances the scales; a simple equation: More from the organiser + more form your conference speakers = better content
In return for more of the conference speaker’s time we should pay them a fee (or offer real value).
We should approach speakers with this list of demands (now that you are paying, they are demands not pleads delivered from an organiser on bended knee)
What you should demand of your conference speaker
1. Promote the event to their social network: If you are choosing great speakers to start with it is likely that they will have some kind of following.
You can ask / tell them to let the world know that they are speaking at your event. It may be possible that they even sell a ticket or two.
2. Tailor their presentation: You should no longer be happy with the “suitcase” conference speaker, the well-travelled narrator who pulls out the same slides and presentation.
The narrative of your conference should demand that every presentation should be tailored to reflect the objectives that you want your attendees to action.
3. Engage with your attendees before the event: A content marketing strategy is key when selling your conference.
So ask your speaker to provide links to past blogs, speeches, articles, or anything that is related to their session. You can use this to build the excitement for their speech.
4. Do something memorable in their presentation: If you give some direction and offer some advice it is quite easy for your speaker to add something very memorable to their presentation.
The more memorable their session the more your event is remembered and the more you create an experience. Ask your speakers: what one thing will the delegates remember from your session? And ensure they have something “catchy” included
5. Deliver two presentations: One for the “live” performance and one for attendees after the event. Here’s a lot of detail on exactly how to do exactly that and why it is so important.
6. Be available to attendees immediately after their presentation: I would say one of the strongest complaints you hear about keynote speakers is when they do their thing and then bugger off, sometimes not even taking questions.
Demand more from your conference speakers and make them stay around at your event and set up time for attendees to speak to them 1-2-1.
7. Blog for you after the event, or create other useful content that you can use to promote your future events: This is very easy for your speaker.
They can knock something up very quickly in the form of a blog post (perhaps reacting to some questions) or they can take some pictures and upload a board to Instagram.
These are simple things that add to the content of your event.
If you load one side of the scales with benefits for the speaker (it doesn’t have to be financial there are many other benefits to offer professionals) you are in a stronger position to ask more of them.
And if everyone puts more in your content stops becoming just OK.