How organizations use professional and industry speakers at meetings, conferences and other events is detailed in a recent survey from Tagoras and Velvet Chainsaw Consulting.
Consultants interviewed almost 250 respondents from 170 organizations, 80 percent of which hold meetings attended by at least 500 people. The report looks at how speakers are chosen, what is expected of them and how the educational impact they make is measured. The report’s nine key conclusions:
1. Education deserves respect. As more free or low-cost webinars and online meetings compete with more traditional meetings, the need for organizations to invest in internal education (both resources and staff) will grow.
2. Big names aren’t a big draw. Only a third of those surveyed said that a big speaker is very important or extremely important in attracting attendees. This suggests that dollars reserved for celebrity speakers could be better spent.
3. Sponsorship is mainstream. Nearly 87 percent of respondents sometimes seek sponsors to underwrite the cost of professional speakers, sessions or content at their meetings. Expect this to continue and increase.
4. Keep content current. Organizations need to book speakers and lock in content within a six-month time frame. Less is even better.
5. Speakers need coaching. Make sure presenters are focused on three to five things that the learner needs to recall.
6. Sessions and individuals rule. Most learning happens at the session level and is led by individual speakers. If organizations want to improve, they must evaluate each speaker’s knowledge and delivery.
7. Determining educational impact should be a priority.
8. Live-streaming should grow.
9. Success can be bad. While 97.9 percent of respondents said they were very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their meetings, organizers should not see this as a time to rest on their laurels.