Sunday, April 30, 2006

Conference speakers need proper briefing

Many conference organisers have only an outline in their mind when they first start to look for speakers to fill their programmes. Great ideas develop best together, and the strongest corporate events often come out of early conversations with world class thinkers, about what the biggest issues will be for participants in a few months time.

All great conferences are meeting points between the organising team, their faculty of speakers and participants.

The most important thing is to know what you want out of the event, what take home messages you want people to have in their minds as the event closes, and what you want them to remember in a year or two.

The next most important thing is to line up your biggest speakers as early as possible. People who have a great reputation for delivering wonderful, provocative, thought-provoking and entertaining presentations.

One reason for early action is that diaries get booked up a long time ahead. Another reason is that they will bring with them vital insights which will help your conference develop - at least that is what you hope. The best speakers at conferences are usually team players whose greatest concern is the wider success of your event, rather than just their own time slot. They get involved, they make themselves available before and after their own sessions, and contribute in many other subtle ways to the atmosphere of the event.

Try to avoid speakers who seem to have no interest in you or your event apart from turning up (briefly) to give a their standard message and getting paid.
Audiences can tell the difference and you will too.

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