Here is how to get the most from your speaker investment while boosting both participant and speaker engagement at the same time!
- Lean on the opening speaker. The opening keynote speaker sets the tone for the rest of the conference. They can encourage participation. They can advocate for participants to be open, friendly, and collegial. The opening keynote can build excitement, or encourage participants to be thoughtful and reflective. Think about what kind of tone you want to set and pick an opening speaker that is likely to deliver. Then schedule a call in advance of the conference to discuss what you hope to achieve with the opening keynote. Likely the speaker will be happy to collaborate and will have relevant ideas to add of their own.
- Repurpose speaker’s best content. Speakers tend to develop other content in addition to their presentations. Ask to repost their blog posts in pre-conference marketing. Reprint their articles in magazines and journals and let readers know the author will be a speaker at the conference. Do they have publically available videos, podcasts, white papers, or reports? Link to them into your event’s web pages.
- Have each speaker reinforce the theme of the conference. If your conference has a theme, schedule a conference call with all the speakers to explain the theme and why this theme is relevant to participants. Ask the speakers for their ideas about how they can support the theme as a group and as individuals.
- Make the speakers available to the attendees during the conference. Many speakers would like to connect even more with conference attendees. Make sure they can attend the receptions and meals if they want to. Your wisest participants may get in an impromptu 30 minutes of free consulting during lunch.
- Add even more value after the conference. Extend the conference by providing additional material for attendees after the conference is over. Ask speakers if they would be willing to answer popular questions asked in the fan line about their material and make this content available along with other session resources like handouts or a PDF of the presentation.
- Enable attendees to take action once they are back in the office. Hold an online Q&A session for the most interested session participants who want to convert the strategic presentation into concrete action steps for their specific need.
Leverage your speaker resource even more to boost participant engagement. Many speakers would be more than happy to help!