From webinars to conferences, educational events tend to draw a crowd. But whether that crowd leaves happy or not, well...a big part of that has to do with your event speakers. Did they deliver new, interesting, and/or helpful content? Did they cover what attendees were hoping they would?
Because so much of your event’s success depends on how well your speakers do, it’s worth taking some time to prep them effectively. In fact, here are three resources you may want to pass along:
1. A “who’s in the crowd” breakdown
It’s always a good idea to brief your speakers on who will be in the audience. What are their jobs? What age brackets do they fall into? What are their biggest goals? And similarly, what are their biggest pain points?
If your speakers can get a better understanding of who’s going to be in the crowd, they’ll be better equipped to come up with more applicable examples, tips, suggestions, etc.
2. A “what’s worked well” list
Rather than having your speakers guess what attendees might respond well to - an interactive session versus a presentation-style session, for example - pass what you already know along. If you’ve held this event before (or an event similar in nature), hopefully you collected feedback via a post-event survey. What were some of the main takeaways you got from those surveys?
Now there’s no need to focus on the negative here. (You don’t want to scare your event speakers!) Rather, make everything a positive. If you received feedback saying a session was “too conceptual,” then let your upcoming speakers know your attendees tend to like “sessions with actionable takeaways.” This will help your speakers mold their presentations to the liking of your members (in a broad sense, at least.)
Note: There’s a fine line between giving your members insights and ideas and pigeonholing them into one very specific presentation style. Encourage diversity, but also share your lessons learned (again, in the most positive way possible).
3. A “day-of prep” checklist
You’ll likely have a mix of speakers at your event (or at your events over time): some who’ve never spoken before (at any event), some who’ve spoken before (just not at your event), and some who are seasoned veterans (they’ve been there and done that). Regardless of which level-of-experience bucket your speakers fall into, it’s always helpful to pass along what they can expect and how to best prepare on the day of their actual presentation. For example, you may want to include…
- What time to arrive to the room (30 minutes early? An hour early?)
- Whether or not there will be an audio/visual technician there
- Whether someone will be introducing them or not (and if so, what time that person will arrive)
- Who will be the primary point of contact onsite should there be any issues (with the room, the technology, etc.)
The more you can help your event speakers, the better they’ll be able to serve your members through education.
Speaking of education, what does your organization’s existing learning program look like? Do you have online initiatives in place? If not (or if you’re looking to revamp what you do have), check out our free guide, 3 Simple Steps to Starting an Online Learning Program. (It really is easier to do than you may think, and it’s a HUGE value prop for your members. Not to mention, it’s also a great source of non-dues revenue. Worth a look!)