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Speakers Power Your Events. Here's How to Identify Great Ones

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Let's face it: people come to your event for your speakers. That's why 66% of conference attendees make their decision to attend only after learning about session content and speakers for the event.

If you want to drive registrations, and ensure the long-term health of the event, you NEED great speakers.

Do you know how to identify a great speaker?

In my nearly two decades in events, I've seen a lot of speakers (and a lot of evaluations of speakers). I've seen even more submissions.

Here's what I've noticed great speakers have in common

Great speakers come off authentic and real. They're able to quickly form a relationship with an audience, engaging them early in the presentation.

Great speakers often take the approach "I've been through this and I want to share with you guys what I've learned and I want to learn from you."

They know their audience and adapt to their style.

They rely on visuals.

Great speakers create an environment and an experience (much like strategic event managers do with their events).

Great speakers are flexible. They can adjust in real-time to circumstances and audience needs.

Great speakers work hard at being great speakers. They are prepared. Over-prepared, usually. They've rehearsed over and over and they've solicited feedback. They've recorded themselves giving their presentation so they can adjust for tone and delivery. They pay attention to details.

Poor speakers are easy to identify as well

They don't know their subject or their audience. And they don't adapt to the audience’s needs over the course of their talk.

They often have an attitude that says "I know more than you. I'm better than you. And I'm here to tell you what to do."

Poor speakers use a lot of text on slides and don't rely on visuals.

Poor speakers aren't clear or concise. They ramble and it's obvious they haven't rehearsed or practiced enough. They are unprepared.

How do I identify a great (or poor) speaker in the grading process?

Great speakers put in the work to be great speakers, and this work is evident. I make sure I watch videos of potential speakers presenting. I look at a sample presentation and see how visual it is, and if it’s easy to consume. Finally, I look at their title and abstract and see if it shows attention to detail. You can tell if they’ve put the work in.

Great speakers can make your event. With a little bit of forethought, you and your content team will be able to identify them with ease.

Found some great speakers? Learn how to manage them with our Speaker Management Best Practices Whitepaper!

Speaker Management Best Practices

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