5 Things Event Organisers love about Speakers

5 Things Event Organisers love about Speakers

By Erik Vermeulen

25/09/2018

 

After spending 15 years on the global conference speaking circuit I’ve shared the platform with a variety of awesome speakers, bad speakers, arrogant speakers, and then some.

There are 3 things that I believe are important for a speaker to know – their topic is one, but I only rate it 3rd. The first is to know the audience, and the second, to know what makes the Event Organiser and guys paying your bill happy.

Here’s  some advice to fellow speakers on how I keep Event Organisers happy. If you’re looking to book speakers, why not ask them if they are prepared to deliver on these 5 aspects.

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Event organisers love working with speakers who:

1) Understand the event’s community 

Get to know your audience ahead of the event. Spend some time with them (online or in person), and make sure you’re current with the most relevant topics of discussion or debate. This will also help if you choose to have a Question and Answer session. Find out who the other speakers are, and publicly reach out to them. This will help build momentum and comraderie in advance of the event, itself.

2) Promote the event 

A speaker’s own following or readership is great source of potential attendees for a conference. Organizers are aware of this and will notice when you actively promote the event to your community. Get the word out on your blog, shared calendars, message boards and social networks.

3) Are dependable

Organizers will choose speakers who show up on time, have all their materials, are prepared for AV mishaps, and can adapt to last minute changes. Your reputation matters. Many speakers don’t realize it, but conference organizers of different events compare notes and talk amongst themselves to share their experiences working with speakers, on and off the stage.

4) Expect the unexpected 

When it comes to professional events, Murphy’s Law prevails. Don’t assume there will be a dependable Internet connection. If you plan on presenting a “live demo”, make sure you have backup screenshots handy in case the Internet connection isn’t as speedy or stable as you need.

5) Participate in the event 

Don’t just fly in, speak, and fly out. It doesn’t matter how busy you are, the event is your customer, and the audience is your extended community. Be approachable and make time to engage with attendees in the halls, in other sessions, at lunch. Be willing to do an impromptu podcast, and be a good sport about having your picture taken with attendees. It will be worth your time, you’ll meet interesting people and you just might learn something

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The Importance of Good Entertainment

The Importance of Good Entertainment

by Chris Forrest

Corporate events and the importance of having them is underrated, people don’t realize how effective a tool such an event can be.  Whether you’re looking to attract new business, cement relationships with your existing clients, educate your staff or boost team morale thereby increasing productivity, a successful corporate event has immense power.

The thing is though, if you want to make people feel special, you have to make your event special.  I’ve done a lot of events in my nineteen years as a comedian, I’ve seen some amazing events, I’ve seen some complete duds and a lot that are somewhere in between. There are many elements that can influence this. Obviously, as a comic I’m biased and I feel that the most important is entertainment. I’ve sat with delegates at the breakfast table many times after an event, and I can’t recall too many conversations about how spectacular the centre-piece was or how much they enjoyed the malva pudding & custard (the desert of choice at 90% of these nights). The subject that’s got tongues wagging is normally a toss up between how much they enjoyed the comedian (or other entertainment but as I said, I’m biased), who won which awards or how many shooters everybody manage to force down their throat on the company account  – if I’m honest this one normally comes up first.

Now if you’re an events planner or planning your company’s upcoming function, you’re probably looking at a comedian to make it awesome, and if you’re not, you really should be. Comedians, in my humble opinion, are the most versatile, best value for money and also great at improvising if things don’t go according to plan. The thing is when you book a comic, there are certain things you can, and should do in order to get the most out of it for all involved, so here are a few tips to help:

Track record

It’s all good and well if three of your friends saw a guy ripping it up a the Rusty Hook comedy night, but it is important to remember that a formal function is very different from a comedy club. The subjects discussed are normally quite different, the “F-bombs” need to be locked away in a secure location, hecklers, no matter how belligerent and drunk, need to be treated with a level of respect rather than destroyed and lastly it must be kept in mind that the audience are not there for comedy so they’re slightly harder to amuse, which can be the undoing of someone who is not experienced in such things. Make sure the comic you hire has either been in the comedy game for a fair amount of time, or has a proven corporate track record, the former if any good, should have the latter. I would suggest getting references rather than believing a self-written bio, just to be safe.

Reliability 

While you’re doing the reference check, make sure that the individual you’re hiring is reliable. Since these events normally have a strict time schedule and you have enough to stress about, without worrying because your funny person is an hour late. Furthermore they should be able to stick to time, if you’ve allocated a twenty minute spot, a good comic will be able to fill exactly that time, give or take a minute either side, they should also be adaptable enough to shorten or lengthen it (within reason) if necessary.

Match the comic to the audience

A good booking agent should be able to assist with this. The nature of the industry means that there are a lot of comedians out there who can cross over to a wide range of people, which is great especially if your company is big and diverse, in this case, make sure your comic can cross over and appeals to all. In other cases it may be more specialized, if 90% of your audience only understands Chinese, it makes no sense to book an English-speaking comedian, its happened to me, and was terrible for the audience and myself.

Give a briefing if required

If you want your comic to do something different from the norm, give them a briefing. This isn’t always the case, but often I’ll get asked to make industry specific jokes (which decent comics should do anyway), or take the mickey out of “Dave from accounts” which is a lot easier if I have a bit more insight into your product and industry, or who Dave is, and why he’s been chosen for this “honour”. It’s best to request a briefing, especially if you are quite nervous about how the event will unfold, or if this is your first time organizing an event with a comedian and you are looking for some reassurance. If the comic refuses to meet for a briefing, you may want to tread with caution, rather look out for a comic who is professional and willing to go out of their way to make you feel more comfortable about your event.

A good comedian will elevate your event, as they say “Laughter is the best the best medicine” and at this point in time, I think we could all do with a good chuckle. So book a comic and make it better.