7 Tips to Make Event Planners Your BFF's
Public speakers! You are the heart of every conference, trade show, workshop, and educational event. Congratulations and THANK YOU for being amazing.
Truth, the relationship between you and the planners who organize all the events that are your bread and butter is a symbiotic one. They need your brilliance, and you need their astute insight about their audience. You need their feedback to help you be your best, most impactful version of yourself.
It really doesn’t take much to turn an Event Planner or Conference Manager into your BFF. A few gestures like this list goes a long way..
Read your email
The first, best thing you can do to get event planners on your side is to read. your. email. Make sure you send in everything the event organizer asks for — usually including head shot, bio, and session information. You’ll likely receive other logistics information that isn’t just lip service.
Very little makes a speaker manager or event planner crazier than having to chase you for this basic info needed to effectively market their event. They know you have a day job. You can still go a long way toward building lasting relationships with events by being responsive.
A note about head shots: Take the time to get a quality head shot taken. It goes a long way toward leaving the impression that you are a legit expert and quality addition to the event.
Square peg, square hole
Make sure you’re clear on who the event audience is, their learning goals, session format, etc — and that your presentation is laser matched with the goals of the event program. Chances are if you've made it to the event-planner-bonding stage of the game, your subject is a good fit. Just do all you can to make sure your lesson is relevant
Be clear about your AV needs
Is there a standard platform like Powerpoint that the event prefers for efficiency? Are they able to accommodate your awesome Keynote presentation file? Do you have audio or video embedded in your preso? The earlier you check in with the event staff, the earlier you know what they can accommodate and what they can't — and adjust accordingly.
Show up on time
You’ll probably receive information pre-event (see “Read Your Email” above) about where to go and when to be there from the event organizers. Tardy speakers can prevent the trains from running on time. It’s always a good relational move to show up when and where you’re asked.
Provide max learning value
I’ve seen countless talks where the speaker spends minutes giving their bio and backstory, making attendees wait for the meat of their presentation. They can get most of that from your bio page.
Your best bet is to get right into the lesson you’re teaching, giving you maximum opportunity to shine as the expert you are. It increases the likelihood you’ll be invited back.
This is even more true for speakers leading long-form workshops. Be sure that the full duration of your presentation contains high-value lessons and takeaways. Have downloads or other prereq requirements for your workshop? Make sure attendees know to grab whatever they need to jump right in from the start of your lesson, vs. spending valuable time doing it in the session from.
Practice practice practice — and Goldilocks that talk
Just as running long with your presentation can throw the timing of the event, so can underusing your full time allotted. Practice and practice again is the best mantra to make sure you’re filling your full time.
A note about holding time at the end of your preso for Q&A. It can be valuable, but don’t sacrifice your presentation for it. You can always invite attendees to connect with you outside of the session room after your talk.
Feedback is generally always a good thing. If the event organizers or attendees have constructive feedback for you, you’re best served to listen to it generously. It’s most often with your development at heart and increases the perception that you’re a team player.