Things to Think About When Selecting an Event Speaker

One of the greatest draws your association will be able to market regarding your events is the speakers you have scheduled to present. If you are able to lock-in a well-known entity within your industry or the topics being discussed by your speakers are particularly captivating to your audience, you will most likely see more expedited uptake of registration to your event.

Your members will look forward to association events from the outset – people enjoy getting together and meeting their colleagues. However, they will be all the more excited and thrilled to attend should the itinerary include presentations that strike their interest.

Since your presenters are an important aspect in achieving a successful event, it’s well worth the effort to take some time to scrutinize what qualities you should be looking for in a speaker. Knowing your needs is key in effectively assessing potential candidates, as well as considering the following characteristics that your speakers need if they are going to meaningfully communicate with your attendees and delegates.

Being qualified to not only deliver professional presentations, but also to speak intelligently (backed by credentials and experience) on the subject for which they have been called upon is a must. You want a speaker who is comfortable in front of crowds, knows how to keep people engaged, is passionate about the topic of discussion and likes to make things fun and entertaining. It’s expected that presenters speak from a position of authority, but appreciated (and enjoyed) when they put effort into making the subject matter an interactive experience for the audience. It’s often the case that event attendees will fondly remember a presenter that not only provided great information, but did so in a way that was funny or unique. Everyone enjoys a little showmanship. Make sure you vet your prospective speakers to confirm their qualifications and inquire on how they prefer to present their material. Get to know them a little bit before slotting them in as an official presenter at your association event.
Repeat Act
There are a lot of events happening within your industry throughout the year. It goes without saying that your association events are not the only events that your members attend. There will always be a little overlap from industry event to industry event – since events focus on the most prevalent topics within the industry. However, you’ll want to curtail as much repetition as you reasonably can. The topics or overarching theme of your event may be similar, but if you can package it differently by offering new presenters that your audience have yet to hear from, you’ll keep their interest piqued. The last thing you want is for your event’s itinerary to be a near duplicate of another event that already occurred. This is why it’s important for representatives of your association to attend other events, not only to stay connected to the industry, but also to conduct reconnaissance regarding the details of each event. Getting the inside scoop on other events will allow your association to prevent repetition within your own event.
Value Proposition
This guideline doesn’t need to apply to all of your speakers. However, the more presenters you can apply it to, the more value your association will derive. The value proposition I’m referring to is when a presenter is multi-faceted. Instead of a speaker just serving as a speaker, maybe they can also moderate or sit on a panel discussion, or maybe they can additionally serve as a break-out facilitator or booth delegate. If they are a great presenter that garners attention from your attendees, the longer you can keep them in the fold (interacting with attendees), the more memorable your event will be.
When conceptualizing your event, you need to understand what you want to accomplish with every detail. That goes for your speakers too. Before going out and trying to identify potential candidates to serve as presenters for your event, you need to know exactly what you’re looking for. Being familiar with the goals you want to realize for each of the presentations you have envisioned for your event will allow you to better target the right speakers. Once you know exactly what you need, it’s just a matter of finding the person(s) who will be compatible with those needs. Interview prospects to better understand their credentials and approach, and ask how they intend to contribute to the realization of the goals you have set out for their particular presentation. For each speaker you confirm for your event, they should give you confidence there is a high probability of realizing what you’ve envisioned as a success case.
Speaking the Language
This is going to be the speaker characteristic that is most important in deciding whether a presentation is make or break. The speaker you bring on can have all the impressive credentials in the world but if they don’t know how to present their information in a palatable manner (specifically for your members), none of their experience or knowledge will matter. When you’re interviewing a prospective presenter, it’s key to confirm they are familiar with your audience and also they know the industry lingo. You certainly don’t want your presenters to be up on stage bombing because there is a disconnect between what they are saying and what your member audience is hearing. For a presenter, having great information to provide isn’t enough. They must be able to revise and manipulate their content so the message is clear for the audience they are speaking with. Ensure your presenters are well-versed in communicating their content to a variety of audiences.

When searching for event speakers – scouring your membership and drawing on industry organizations for candidates – keep the above in mind. Remember, the most important thing is that you decide on a desired outcome before conducting your search. Your association needs to understand the result they are looking to achieve, so they can engage with the presenters best suited to help realize that outcome.

When you’re ready to start searching for presenter candidates, you’ll need a resource that can guide you through your search. One of the best ways to find great speakers is to draw on your membership, and the best way to do that is through an association management system. Guild is a robust member management software that allows associations to have simple, streamlined access to their members. If you’d like to learn more about the Guild AMS, or schedule a live demo of the solution, please click here.