Tagoras, a marketing consulting firm, and Velvet Chainsaw Consulting, an annual meeting improvement, association and corporate meetings company, recently surveyed 175 meeting professionals about their expectations of speakers — both in live context and resonating their message to a remote audience. 

Here are the highlights from the research: 

Killer Insight #1: Surveys are collected, but learning is still questionable. 

According to their research, 94% of respondents collect evaluations but only 48% measure whether any learning actually took place

To me this is a real disconnect; besides understand the dynamics of the meeting environment, surveys should measure learning objectives. Most individuals go to the meetings to learn and to network. Period. 

This is a two step process – first, set up your learning goals and two, find a way to measure knowledge. One easy way to assess learning is through wireless Audience Response Systems. You can ask pre- and post-training questions to make certain learning objectives were obtained. In addition, if you rent iPads for your attendees, your presenters can ask questions via social channels or polling apps and gauge the attendee's knowledge on a real time basis. 

Killer Insight #2: Speakers are expected to do more than just speak at a conference. 

66% of participants expect speakers to: 

  • Present
  • Write articles
  • Participate in event online communities and 
  • Record promotional videos about the event. 

In general terms, I think it is best to ask "what your speaker can do for you, not what you can do for your speaker". Think broader. Think marketing and promotion. This expectation of presenters is up 14% from two years ago. 

Killer Insight #3: Big names are out. 

Only 28% of survey respondents believe a big name speaker is extremely or very important in attracting attendees to their conference. 

This is your chance to use local talent and/or knowledge based speakers. Due to the influx of YouTube videos and online peer reviews, you can assess whether or not a presenter is right for your group. In addition to saving thousands of dollars by hiring local talent, you also save on amenities such as airfare and hotel rooms. 

Killer Insight #4: Live video streaming has not caught hold…yet. 

Only 23% of organizations offer live streaming of all or some of their keynote sessions at major meetings and 11% offer this in concurrent sessions. 

Whether you like it or not, video live streaming is coming and attendees are expected to be connected to it in a variety of ways including: 

  • Hybrid events for remote attendees
  • Second screen technology for tablet users and 
  • Viewing speakers on large video wall rental units if you have to step out of the meeting space

Because video can suck the life out of your bandwidth, you need to be prepared with options including Wi-Fi network array rental units. For more information about mobile and video predictions, check out this blog posted earlier this month: https://thesmartsource.com/blog/news-and-tips/planners-prepare-for-6-shifts-in-mobile-solutions-in-2014

"Organizations and attendees are both starting to demand more from their meetings," stated Celisa Steele, Managing Director at Tagaros. And that means you – speakers – whether you are used to it or not. 

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