5 Traits Event Organizers Want From Speakers

It’s September, and conference season is underway. If you are speaking at a professional event, remember it’s not just your presentation that counts. Here are 5 ways to be the speaker that every event organizer wants to invite back. Organizers want speakers who…

1) Understand the event’s community – get to know your audience ahead of the event. Spend some time with them (online or in person), and make sure you’re current with the most relevant topics of discussion or debate. This will also help if you choose to have a Question and Answer session. Find out who the other speakers are, and publicly reach out to them. This will help build momentum and comraderie in advance of the event, itself.

2) Promote the event – a speaker’s own following or readership is great source of potential attendees for a conference. Organizers are aware of this and will notice when you actively promote the event to your community. Get the word out on your blog, shared calendars, message boards and social networks.

3) Are dependable – organizers will choose speakers who show up on time, have all their materials, are prepared for AV mishaps, and can adapt to last minute changes. Your reputation matters. Many speakers don’t realize it, but conference organizers of different events compare notes and talk amongst themselves to share their experiences working with speakers, on and off the stage.

4) Expect the unexpected – when it comes to professional events, Murphy’s Law prevails. Don’t assume there will be a dependable Internet connection. If you plan on presenting a “live demo”, make sure you have backup screenshots handy in case the Internet connection isn’t as speedy or stable as you need.

5) Participate in the event – don’t just fly in, speak, and fly out. It doesn’t matter how busy you are, the event is your customer, and the audience is your extended community. Be approachable and make time to engage with attendees in the halls, in other sessions, at lunch. Be willing to do an impromptu podcast, and be a good sport about having your picture taken with attendees. It will be worth your time, you’ll meet interesting people and you just might learn something!

An engaged, supportive speaker is like an honored guest – if you are genuine and gracious you will surely be invited back.

  • http://www.afzaaconsultants.com/ Afzaa Consultants

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  • http://www.tjwalker.com TJ Walker

    Following up on your point #2, I find it’s quite helpful to create a simple talking head video to promote the event where i will be speaking. If we are speakers, why should we rely on text to promote our speaking? Organizers seem to love video that promotes their event.

  • http://srLeoSalazar.wordpress.com Leo Salazar

    Very good tips. Keynote speakers seem to think it gives them an air of importance and exclusivity if they fly in/fly out and are removed and detached while there. I’ve had some who even bring their assistants with them and are doing business the whole time, or who are on their mobile phone or Blackberry. Oh, aren’t you busy, Mr. High-Flying Executive. Great that you could take time from your busy schedule to do this big, fat favor for us.

    But the ones who are truly valued, the ones who have impact, and the ones that get asked to come back and contribute value in some way (i.e. do business) are the ones who are engaged, committed and show genuine interest in their clients. The give you the feeling that they are learning as much as they are giving, and are a true joy to have around. They give you the feeling that they value being asked and are returning the favor by delivering quality. These are the speakers on my A list.

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    Following up on your point #2, I find it’s quite helpful to create a simple talking head video to promote the event where i will be speaking. If we are speakers, why should we rely on text to promote our speaking? Organizers seem to love video that promotes their event.

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