Coordinating successfully with speakers
The most difficult part of any online event is coordinating the content. It’s far more difficult than any marketing challenge, getting sponsors, or any other aspect of planning the event.
Without your speakers and their presentations, you wouldn’t have an event at all – which is why they are absolutely integral to your event. However, they’re difficult to coordinate with leading up to your event. More than one client of ours has described it as ‘herding cats.’ How do you make this process easier?
Make your expectations clear from the beginning.
You’ll have to contact your speakers a few months before the event to make sure they’ll have time to even participate in the event, so the moment you contact them to ask them to speak, make your expectations clear. Tell them when the event is, when your deadline for title/abstract submissions is, and when your deadline for the recorded session is as well (if you’re doing pre-recorded instead of live).
If you’re doing a live event, tell them what days the event is, ask when on those days they’re available, and lock them in ASAP.
2. Have a contract – and get them to sign it.
The moment they say they’re interested, send them a contract that you’ve created specifically for the event. The easiest way to do this is to leave the name area blank and
have them sign their initials on every page. You can do this with an online signature service or just have them print it out and scan it back to you. If they’re unable to scan it back, just get an email from them saying that they agree to it and they understand the terms.
Inside of that contract, reiterate the deadlines from above. This way, you make it extremely clear with them that your expectations are written in stone and they understand.
3. Keep in contact with them frequently.
Especially if you’re doing a pre-recorded session, which will likely be submitted two weeks before the event, keep in contact with your speakers. Ask them how the recording is going, how the slides are coming along, if they have any questions. You can come up with many reasons to contact them.
You should also create a graphic that your speakers can use on their blog or personal website; this way they can say that they’re speaking at your event. Presenters love to brag about the events they’re involved in, and that’s great marketing for you as well.
The bottom line is, though: be patient. Without your speakers, you wouldn’t have an event. Make sure they know they’re appreciated and they’ll come back for your next one, too!
Have any questions? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to help out!