How to... get the best out of your speakers

You may have some of the best academic minds at your association conference, but can they present? Alan Stevens, former president of the Global Professional Speaking Association and founder of Media Coach, explains further

Conference speaker
Conference speaker

Common mistakes
I think there is often a lot of laziness on both sides. It is the speakers and the content of an event that create a lasting impression, not the venue or the catering. Everyone always remembers a really bad speaker and all too often I think organisers are focused on filling the slots so they can move on to the other elements of the event that need organising.I’ve seen some shocking examples and one of the worse things is when a speaker over-runs and it throws the whole day off, making the day longer. A professional speaker should never overrun. 

Choosing the right speaker
Imagine you are a delegate and think from their point of view. Consider exactly what they need and when. What information will the delegate benefit from? And who is a real expert in that field?

Getting the most from a speaker
There needs to be a longer dialogue between the speaker and organiser to ensure the speaker sticks to content and delivers exactly what the delegates need for that event. It’s a two-way thing.  

When a presenter can’t present
I’ve seen many academics present in a scientific way starting with the aim and hypothesis leading to the methods and various graphs before presenting the results. My advice is to start with the end. Spend a few minutes at the beginning telling the audience the most interesting part of the results to engage them and then lead into the how you did it. Turning an academic presentation on its head is a great way to improve a presentation.

MC-ing
I think more and more associations are waking up to the fact that a professional facilitator or MC can be essential to the success of a conference, but again a facilitator shouldn’t just be turning up on the day to be briefed – they should be preparing months ahead of the event.

Cutting-edge methods
Boring an audience with a power point presentation is no loner excusable when there is so much available to speakers now to make their presentation exciting. Today, one of the key things is to engage and interact with those outside the room, and with Twitter and Skype it is easy to do. There can be some great academics that could not make the event that are essential for the discussion and the event.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Register now
Already registered?
Sign in
BCD Meetings & Events appoints new country director in China

BCD Meetings & Events appoints new country director in China

New Shanghai-based country director joins BCD M&E after recent roles with Uniplan and Pico.

How do you win a C&IT Award?

How do you win a C&IT Award?

Award winner-turned-judge explains what the panel was looking for in this year's entries and how accolades affect agency life.

4 things event tech fans should be excited about

4 things event tech fans should be excited about

The good folk of Clive show us some of the latest developments that have caught their attention.

TAG opens new office in Hong Kong

TAG opens new office in Hong Kong

The travel and event management company expands its reach in Asia and now has ten offices worldwide.

Gray Dawes Group acquires Amber Road Travel

Gray Dawes Group acquires Amber Road Travel

Travel management specialist boosts its presence in the north of England and will exceed £200m turnover.

'Clients have to understand our turnaround times'

'Clients have to understand our turnaround times'

Laura Law, conference director at Venues & Events International, argues that agencies need sufficient time to get under a brief's skin.

28% of event professionals have taken time off for mental health issues, finds survey

28% of event professionals have taken time off for mental health issues, finds survey

Research by Stress Matters discovers that many are still experiencing anxiety and a blame culture at work, despite more wellbeing initiatives.

Why we must 'reshape the conversation' around gender equality

Why we must 'reshape the conversation' around gender equality

Event professionals at IMEX America discussed mentoring and how to get everyone involved in debates about equality at work.

Ruby Hotels' first UK property to open in Southbank in 2020

Ruby Hotels' first UK property to open in Southbank in 2020

The carnival-themed Ruby Lucy will bring 'lean luxury' to London in January and have a Marshall guitar amp in every room.

Five ways ICC Belfast and the wider city is mastering sustainability.

LATEST JOBS