If you have been set the task of planning a conference, you’ll undoubtedly be all too aware of the amount of work that is required and the many different elements that need to come together to result in the event that you hope for.
One essential aspect of any conference are its speakers, but where do you start when it comes to picking the right individuals to perform? It’s no mean feat as every professional speaker has their own traits and topics which make them different from the next, yet there are a few sure fire signs to suggest the speaker you are looking at might well be a winner.
To help you out, we’ve listed what we believe they are below for you;
A speaker who has past experience of talking in a conference environment can provide you with a little more confidence in the fact that they know what they are doing, they will know that they have a strict time allowance to stick to and won’t be phased by standing up in front of a large audience.
Particularly for first time conference organisers, it’s advisable to go with a large bulk of speakers with past conference experience as they will essentially look after themselves and enable you to concentrate on other areas on the day itself.
A speaker who wants to know all about the event as well as who is attending is a speaker for you!
By finding out about who will be listening means your speaker is planning to target their talk to appeal directly to what the audience will want to know, and therefore offer the greater chance of captivating those in attendance throughout.
Without asking the right questions of you, the event organiser, increases the chances of a dull, uninspiring, forgettable speech that doesn’t appeal to the audience in any way.
Social Media Presence
A relatively new yet important feature would be to look into the social media presence of a speaker to ensure they have a good following and active accounts. It by no means needs to have mind blowing figures but if they have a good number of users interacting with them, are posting regular updates and the relevancy to the field they work within is clear to see then you’re on the right track.
A speaker’s social media accounts also offer the opportunity for additional publicity of your conference as on booking you could encourage them to promote the event and it will also be in their interest to highlight the events at which their followers can see them speaking.
Whilst in years gone by a conference would see the speaker stand on stage, at the front and simply talk to the audience for half an hour, times change and so does an audience’s needs.
A crowd wants to be kept enthralled throughout so the use of technology from the speaker is imperative. The use of videos, the creation of a Twitter hashtag for immediate and ongoing conversation throughout the talk and clearly presented slides to highlight key points are all features of a speaker’s presentation that you should be looking out for.
Stimulate a Crowd
Following on from nicely from the use of technology is the speaker’s ability to stimulate the crowd and make sure they are with them from the moment they begin until they walk off the stage at the end.
A great speaker will present their talk as if it were a story which has a beginning, middle and end, and in so doing almost keeping the audience guessing as to what is to come so they stick with them to find out the conclusion.
A further highly effective method of maintaining the concentration of an audience is to engage them in what is going on.
If you can find a speaker who isn’t afraid to break away from tradition and invite small groups up on stage for discussions, bring questions posed via social media in real time up onto a big screen to answer or separate the audience in the auditorium up for a live debate, you’re well on the way to a successful conference.
Offer Actionable Information
The final and arguably most important thing you can ask of any conference or keynote speaker is that they offer clearly presented, actionable advice and information. A talk can be as interactive, engaging and fun as you like but without key takeaways at the end of it, an audience will get nothing from it.
Checking reviews and testimonials of speaker’s previous engagements as well as viewing videos of them in action will enable you to see for yourself what others have thought of a speaker and how much they took away from it afterwards.
With choosing conference speakers no easy task, we recommend sticking to these seven key principles of a speaker and you’ll be well on your way to ensuring a winning line-up.
To find a conference speaker for your big event, take a closer look at the options available to you here. Alternatively give us a call on 01509 85 29 27 or complete the form on our contact page and we’ll get back to you.