Slideshare – 5 Traits Event Organizers Want From Speakers

by Jean Tower

I received a newsletter from Slideshare this week with an item called: 5 Traits Event Organizers Want From Speakers. The list seems obvious, but having encountered speakers that did not meet these standards, it is worth writing about.

Here’s their list of 5 traits:

1) Understand the event’s community – get to know your audience ahead of the event.
2) Promote the event – a speaker’s own following or readership is great source of potential attendees
3) Be dependable – Your reputation matters.
4) Expect the unexpected – Don’t assume there will be a dependable Internet connection.
5) Participate in the event – don’t just fly in, speak, and fly out.

Being dependable is a key requirement. I am a member of the board of directors for MassCUE (Massachusetts ISTE affiliate). Last year we had a verbal commitment from a nationally known speaker (you have heard of him) and he canceled really late because he “forgot” he was going to T + L. From my point of view this is unacceptable. Because of this, I will never attend his conference and will never recommend him as a speaker. It’s insupportable to make an organization look for a replacement 7 weeks before a big conference. Being dependable and honoring commitments are really meeting the bare minimum standard.

Engaging in the event and being fully present is a great suggestion. We often get speakers who stay and attend and offer breakout sessions. They stay around and talk to people and make connections with our attendees. This is huge. Conference participants really appreciate it.

I love the suggestion to have a “Plan B.” Sure a speaker can come to a conference expecting a high-speed internet connection, but a back-up plan is always advisable. The connection might be too slow for your content or the attendees might soak up all the bandwidth. It’s great to have screenshots and/or videos downloaded locally.

The last suggestion from Slideshare that is a “nice to do” but not a “required to do” is to promote the event. Speakers often have their own following and can tweet or blog or email about the event to them. Promoting the event this way is a great goodwill gesture and is always appreciated.

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