We all know that quality speakers and engaging content are key to attracting delegates and ensuring they get value from your conference. Seamless speaker management is one of the most important tasks for conference organisers but it can be a long, tedious process. As a team of specialist program designers we have perfected the process of speaker management for both fully curated programs, and also those with an abstract submission and review process involved. Speaker management is many things from data capture and management to working with the speakers to ensure they understand and deliver on a brief. It is also intrinsically connected with the event marketing – like so many aspects of event management, clear communication to all stakeholders is key to success!
Feeling that head-ache coming on? To assist here are four of my top tips to make the overall speaker management process headache-free and ensure you get the most out of your speakers.
- Create a One-Stop speaker form to collate all of the speakers’ marketing materials such as bios, headshots, and session descriptions for inclusion in the program. I know everyone loves to work from their emails nowadays but after constant email exchanges and phone calls, it’s easy to forget where you left off and what has been confirmed. Thanks to many of existing event management tools out there, such as EventsAir, you can easily create an online speaker form where you can capture all of the data you want at once and as a bonus, this will stay in your database FOREVER! This process ensures no details get missed and allows you to communicate with all of the speakers effectively and efficiently.
- Tap into speakers’ networking channels to promote your event broadly. Your speaker is one of the most powerful marketing tools you have to promote your event to like-minded industry experts or potential target audiences you perhaps never counted on. Simply create a speaker graphic tool kit that can include an email banner, social media posts or a flyer with your branding and share with speakers to distribute within their circle. Don’t forget to include action items such as ‘REGISTER NOW’ or ‘JOIN ME at the conference’
- Have a dedicated speaker preparation room onsite – for me, this is a must-have. A quote from my uni professor once shared with me is “Event is not an event without an event.” Yes, that’s true and when it comes to AV, I couldn’t agree more. Having a speaker preparation room with a designated AV technician during the conference provides ample time for speakers to go through their presentation and conduct a mini rehearsal if they wish. This process will bring them confidence before they go, and also ensure the AV team are fully prepared so there are no surprises when they get on stage.
- Last-minute cancellation, no problem! Nothing can be worse than a last-minute speaker cancellation or speaker can not make it due to unforeseen circumstances. From our recent FearLess National Conversation on PTSD, we were expecting dozens of speaker flight booking cancellations due to inclement weather in the Sydney area. Did we panic? We could’ve… but instead, we came up with backup plans 1) Identify possible replacement among the speakers who are happy to take another session or a delegate who can share their experience with the audience and 2) Check with the AV team on the option of using a video conference platform such as Zoom to have a virtual session. Luckily, all of our speakers were able to make it and we didn’t have to use any of our back up plans but having these plans in place gave our client huge confidence that they could rely on our service.
Need help managing your speakers? Let Nectar Creative Communications work with you to ensure you are maximising your conference’s speaker program without any head-aches!
Author: Sukhee Chae, Conference & Event Coordinator, Nectar Creative Communications