Perhaps you have heard this very common post-session conversation. One attendee says, “That was really interesting! I wish I could implement that at my organization.” Another attendee replies, “Yeah, you know it’s great for insert giant organization/company here to talk about their steps and successes but we don’t have the man-power, money or time they have.”
So often it is the big guys that take the stage. The well-known companies, the big brands, the current industry darlings. For those of us listening to their presentation we often think, “well, it is easy for them to say because they’ve made it! They are successful (or big, or well resourced, or they have some other advantage we don’t) and we are different from them. We can’t do what they did.” And so, the session was interesting for the participants but probably not all that applicable.
More and more I am seeing greater detail being asked for in the call for speakers. Is the presentation for those new-to-the-profession or for those more advanced? Is the presentation tactical or strategic? Is the presentation for those in small organizations or those in large? This kind of detail helps ensure everyone gets to attend some sessions applicable to them.
When seeking this kind of detail to get session diversity here’s another thing to look at as well. In addition to those well-known organizations balance the sessions with the less-well-known. Presenters from new organizations, smaller organizations, organizations who may be one or two steps ahead of most of the attendees but have not yet reached success in the way the big guys have.
Your members may aspire to be like one of the well-known organizations but they learn best from the organizations like them who are just one or two more steps down the path.