Practical Tips for Keeping Event Speakers Happy
Speakers are a crucial part of any event since they provide content and draw attendees to register. So keeping them happy is important, but isn’t always easy. I’m outlining a few key ways to keep your speakers happy, informed and successful at your next event.
Use clear and frequent communication before the event with clear deadlines
You need to start communicating with your speakers early. Depending on the size of your event you may want to start as early as 6 months ahead of the event. Thank them and let them know what to expect, when. They should know who to contact with questions and any important deadlines up front.
Speakers will always have questions, so it can be a savvy move to preempt them by offering an orientation. These can be done virtually and should be led by the main speaker contact. Orientations can cover deadlines, any technology requirements and the on-site schedule. Tell speakers when to arrive, what they should have with them, and what you’ll provide.
Have a speaker ready room
Having one central place to corral speakers comes in handy. You can offer them a place to prepare for their presentations, charge devices and drop off bags. Make sure to offer wifi, coffee and water. You can communicate to speakers when they need to come to the speaker ready room and then get them mic-ed up and ready to present.
Offer thank you's/gifts
Speaking often isn’t paid, and takes a great deal of preparation. So a small gesture of appreciation goes a long way. Some ideas for VIPs: bluetooth speakers, sturdy umbrellas, nice pens. Smaller items could be notebooks, coffee or local snacks. It’s easiest to distribute these at the event as opposed to shipping them.
It’s a good idea to check in with your speakers after your event. It shows that you care about their experience and helps foster a relationship. You can ask if they felt prepared, if the communication was clear and what suggestions they have for next time. This will also help gauge if they will speak again in the future.
By focusing on the above, your speakers will feel heard and ready to conquer their presentations. Err on the side of over communicating and have someone dedicated to responding to any speaker inquiries. Did I miss any key tips? Let me know in the comments. And if you need an experienced speaker manager, you know where to find me.