Why Top-Rated Speakers Stick to the Script

Conference managers often ask their attendees for feedback – both positive and negative – so that they can improve each event experience. Through this process, I’ve learned that few things irritate conference managers and attendees more than a discrepancy between the original session abstract and the presented lecture. Attendees have limited time at conferences and if there are several concurrent sessions, they must choose only one. They want to feel confident they are making a wise choice based on their objectives for attending the conference. So when a speaker steps on stage and begins presenting a topic that varies dramatically from the talk description in the printed agenda, it does not go over well with the audience.

As a speaker, avoiding this faux pas is easy – always keep a copy of the speaker proposal you originally submitted and do not vary from that description when developing the presentation. Then ask yourself the following questions when drafting your talk outline:

  • Does this topic match the idea I originally submitted?
  • Can I use my original list of learning objectives or attendee takeaways to develop an outline of my session?
  • What are the most important points to cover in the time I am allotted?
  • If I must change the focus slightly, do I have time to get it approved by conference manager – meaning they have time to update the session description on the conference brochure/website?

Ensuring that your session description matches your presentation is an easy way to create a positive experience for attendees and build trust with your target audience. At the end of the day, if you can provide tangible takeaways that they can utilize in their work lives, you will have a happy audience AND a more positive response on those session feedback forms.



Conference News: What I learned this week – July 13, 2018

New Stages for Innovative Sages: Web Summit will debut two new stages in Lisbon this year. Unboxed features the world’s top unboxers on stage revealing new products for the first time. It will highlight the cult of the online reviewer. DeepTech will look at ideas that are three to five years into the future, allowing scientists and researchers to show off prototypes. This stage aims to answer the question: “What are the big revolutionary ideas that are just around the corner?”

AWNY, Eliminating Urban Sprawl: Advertising Week New York will return to the Big Apple on 1 October and bring together marketers and advertisers for 4 days of learning and networking. In year’s past Advertising Week events took place at several venues in Manhattan to accommodate the nearly 100,000 people who attend the sessions over the course of the week. Other cities hosting Adverting Week such as London, Tokyo, Mexico City and Sydney host all of the sessions within a single location. The size and scope of AWNY makes this conference sprawl unique to New York… until now! This year, to celebrate the event’s 15th anniversary, Advertising Week New York will be consolidated under one roof at the 13-screen AMC Loews Lincoln Square theater.

Speaking Opportunity: Started in 2010 and developed in conjunction with the United Nations Foundation, United Nations Development Programme, and the 92nd Street Y, the Mashable Social Good Summit explores “how technology is changing the world for the good.” This year’s conference will return to New York on Sunday, 23 September. If you have a case study about how your organization is applying social good with a global focus, you may submit a proposal to speak at the 2018 conference by the end of July. Past speakers have included YouTube Creator of Change, Humza Arshad, COO of Gradian Health Systems, Executive Director of the World Food Programme, David Beasley, and former Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden.

Lunchtime Learning: The NewSchools Venture Summit used its annual gathering to celebrate its 20th anniversary while reflecting on the past 20 years of education. As NewSchools CEO Stacey Childress noted in her opening address, one of the goals for the conference was to “challenge the limits of our collective understanding about these larger issues – the future of our democracy, the future of technology and the future of work, and to figure out what we need to do to equip (PreK-12) students for the future.”  The comments and ideas offered in the plenary sessions are particularly insightful, regardless of whether you are in education, business or public policy.

Coming up next week: Thought leadership heavyweight Fortune Brainstorm: Tech is held 16 -18 July in Aspen. An annual by-invitation-only retreat for leaders from Fortune 500 companies, Brainstorm Tech also attracts top emerging entrepreneurs and investors of the tech world. In Nashville, Frost & Sullivan’s Annual Digital Marketing MindXchange gets underway 16 July. This MindXchange will attract about 300 marketing professionals and feature a 2018 theme “In Pursuit of a Complete Reinvention of Marketing.” O’Reilly Open Source Convention OSCON celebrates 20 years when it kicks off in 16 July in Portland. New at this year’s event is the OSCON Business Summit, designed for technical business leaders, strategists, and executives. On the other coast, cybersecurity experts will gather in picturesque Newport, RI for this year’s Opal Group Cyber Security Summit (18 -20 July). And on 19 July a select group of VR/AR specialists and space entrepreneurs gather at a SETI Colloquium in Menlo Park to ask the question: “Could VR technology play a role in our ambition to reach the stars?”