5 Qualities of a Great Conference Speaker to Make Your Event Successful

Thursday, June 18, 2015


Let us face it getting great speakers is the heart of how to make your conference or seminar a resounding success in the eyes of your delegates.  However, as an event organizer, there are times that we overlook this element, leaving a bitter taste in our mouth, or a big regret in our hearts.

Most of the times, these happen when we are blinded and fell in love with the impressive curriculum vitae that the speakers have.

We Neglect the fact that there is a big difference of the knowledge accumulated by the speaker, and the speaking performance he can implement in front of the audience.

Here are five qualities that you should look for in selecting speakers in your next conference or seminar:

1. Energetic

Conference speakers are no different from musicians or theater actors - they are performers.

As performers, your speakers should have the energy in delivering their talks. This energy will attract positive reactions to your delegates. I was a witness as to how energetic speakers affected tremendously the interest and enthusiasm of the delegates toward the subject matter being discussed.

It is amazing how an energetic speaker changes the temperature of the room from cold (gloomy) to warm (bright). 

2. Prepared

No matter how knowledgeable your speakers are if they are not prepared to deliver their piece or they do not have learning aids with them like power point presentations their talk time and face time with the delegates are useless.

Worst, unprepared speakers create irate delegates. Delegates feel the event organizer robs them; the big reason is that conference fees are sometimes pricey. Delegates do not deserve to pay a high price just to get a lousy speaker.

I recall an incident in one of my conferences wherein one of my speaker is an expert but came unprepared in discussing the topic assigned to him, I feel bad for my guests. From that moment on I swear to myself to be meticulous and clear to my invited speakers that they have to be prepared during the actual event.


3. Clear and Precise

Sometimes some speakers that are experts in their field are way beyond the delegates’ comprehension. Some sounds Greek and this is a bad idea. No matter how brilliant the speaker is, his main goal never change, that is to communicate clearly and precisely the lessons of his subject matter.

In one conference I attended, I was forced to get out of the conference area and stay in one of the lobby sofa even if the topic is interesting, the culprit? You are right, the speaker is throwing jargons that are hard to comprehend. I felt during that moment that he is wasting my time, so might as well do networking activities rather than listen to him.

4. Engaging

An engaging speaker is a speaker that solicits delegate participation. This engagement is important, the speaker needs to connect with the delegates. The best way to connect is to engage delegates by asking them questions or soliciting their advice in some situations to illustrate better the lessons of a particular concept.

Speaker Engagement with delegates allows the speaker to be linked with the delegates’ intellectual and emotional need in the conference.

As one of my speakers says, “if the delegates are participating, I know that I am connected with them”.

5.  Story Teller

Great speakers tell stories. Stories help delegates understand better the concepts being discussed. We as delegates have in our DNA a better appreciation of ideas if it is presented to us thru great and remarkable stories.

In all conferences and seminars that I have attended, speakers with great stories in their presentations are speakers that are able to earn a space in my heart and mind. For me, speakers that are great storytellers deserve louder applause. Best of all, they deserve my time and effort. I patiently wait in line to approach them to get their autographs and take picture with them - this my way of saying I am satisfied and I respect them.

In this line, if I see that delegates, in my organized event or conferences, are running to have a picture with one of my speakers, or get an autograph of these speakers, I am already assured that I have done my part.

More importantly, I am confident that running the same type of event or conference has a greater chance of success.

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