As a conference planner, it’s your job to make sure your event speakers are happy. Not only will this ensure that they deliver the goods, but it will also boost attendees’ net promoter score. 

Here are nine ideas to help you look after your speakers, keep them happy and engage your attendees. 

Make your event accessible to all 

From your first moment of contact with any prospective speaker, you need to understand what their requirements are for attending your event, whether virtual or physical, and how you can support them in meeting those requirements. 

Do they have any accessibility requirements? What are their preferred pronouns? If your event is in a different country, will you be able to help with their visa application process? By being understanding and supportive from the start, you’re already off to a great start in building good relationships with your speakers. 

Create a smooth submission process 

If your “call for speakers” submission process is old and clunky (think email and spreadsheets or boring forms) are you going to be attracting the high-level speakers that you crave? The short answer is no. Not when there are so many other events out there already using a streamlined, easy-to-use process for speaker submissions. 

Share important attendee information 

You need to ensure your website or pages of information for the speakers is up-to-date with all of your event info (that’s job one on any marketing plan right?). You also need to add more detail about your audience that is relevant to the speakers. Who are they? What are they interested in learning about? What are the trends in your sector right now? 

The good speakers will use that information in their submission to help tailor their sessions to your audience (and event), so the more detail you can provide, the better. 

Get the right speaker management platform in place 

If you just use a simple form, apart from the thank you email, the only way the speaker will know if there’s an update on their submission is if they call you or your contact them. In the time-crunched world we live in today, this adds unnecessary work and wastes time for you both. 

Of course, you should be picking up the phone or scheduling a video conference call with your speakers to discuss their proposed content submission, it will do wonders to build your relationships, but using a simple speaker management solution, your conference speakers will be able to see at a glance the status of their submissions, and review feedback from the event team or any other important details.  

Automate Availability Checking 

Managing speakers and your event calendars normally takes the most amount of time, right? Checking back and forth against what they can / cannot do versus what spaces you have left available on your schedule… it’s a laborious and thankless task. 

But what if you could automate availability checking? 

If you utilise technology such as that of Lineup Ninja, you can ask speakers for their availability against criteria you’ve set such as date / time / venue / hall etc. When the speaker submits their session, they’ll submit their availability, and you can then easily manage “swapping” speakers around in your schedule without fear of filling a space they cannot do. It will save you hours of time, especially on build up, but will also save a lot of back and forth with speakers, making them feel happier they can focus on their talk instead! 

Check their presentations 

More and more conferences are asking speakers to submit their presentations or session notes ahead of the main event. Why? Event planners want to make sure that you’re delivering a valuable session that the event attendees will benefit from attending. 

If you’re going to utilise this process, make sure you give yourself enough time to review the presentations and make any necessary changes with the speaker: it will save a lot of headaches on the day. 

Give them a run-through… and feedback 

No one likes to be caught off guard, especially when they’re speaking in front of a live audience. Help your speakers feel prepared by giving them a run-through of what to expect at your event, whether that’s a quick chat about the format of the event, where there stage will be or a more detailed schedule of their session. It will help to put them (and you) at ease. 

After their talk, make sure you give feedback too. Not everyone is a natural public speaker and they’ll be looking to improve with each presentation they do, so by offering constructive feedback, you’re helping them (and yourself) for future events. 

Brief your host 

Your host is the person who will be introducing each speaker on stage, so make sure you brief them thoroughly. They need to know who the speaker is, what they’re talking about and any other important bits of information that will help the introduction run smoothly. 

You don’t want your host to be scrambling around trying to find information on the speaker or their talk, so make sure you have a dedicated area where they can easily access everything they need to know. 

It’s show time! 

Make sure that your speakers have everything they need for the big day. If you want to go as far as answering their rider list and supply just red skittles and 36 hour stewed iced tea… that’s up to you. However you must ensure you revisit your accessibility questions and check to see that your stage is pre-set with an accessible ramp, lowered microphone and lectern or any other accessibility needs. 

In Summary 

Keeping your event speakers happy is key to ensuring that they deliver the goods and boost attendees’ engagement at your event which will in turn, improve your net promoter score. 

By following these tips, you’ll be able to look after your speakers and make sure that they’re happy with their experience at your event! 

Source: Lineup Ninja – LinkedIn