Knowing that meetings and speaking industry trends are evolving rapidly, we’ve collaborated with Velvet Chainsaw to better understand how organizations use professional and industry speakers at their meetings, conferences, and other events—how they select them, what they expect from them, and how their educational impact is measured.
Based on a survey of 175 organizations, The Speaker Report offers the most comprehensive and up-to-date information available on how speakers fit into the educational landscape. We hope you find the report of value, and we encourage you to share this page with others. Here the download link:
Below is a brief highlight of some areas of the report.
- Top Take-Aways
Starting on page 11 you’ll find a brief discussion of 10 key points from the report, with an emphasis on changes since the previous survey and report. The first is that organizations appear to be using professional speakers more and spending more.
- Professional Speakers
Starting on page 17, we look at a range of items related to professional speakers: speaker budget size, number of speakers hired, sponsorships, how speakers are identified, and which marketing tools most influence the hiring decision (hint: the infamous one sheet ranks last).
- Decision Making for Speakers
Who makes the final decision to hire professional speakers is all over the org chart, but the top answer is not by the education or professional development department, where logic might place it, given the important learning function of many meetings.
- 16 Ways a Professional Speaker Can Kill Her Shot
at a Referral
In the list on page 29, we catalog feedback from survey respondents on the pet peeves that drive them nuts when dealing with professional speakers. If nothing else, reading them could be cathartic. 😉
- 7 Changes to Come
In the section on industry speakers, starting on page 30, we look at changes organizations are looking to make at their meetings. Across the board, the changes are driven by a desire to address budget issues, improve the meetings, or both—maybe the silver lining of the scrutiny of spending is a renewed focus on the effectiveness of meetings.
- Call for Proposals
Over 40 percent of the calls for proposals close 8 to 9 months prior to the major meeting, a little over a fifth close the process 6 to 7 months prior, and another fifth cut off submissions 10 or more months before the meeting, down from a third reporting in our 2011 survey that their CFPs close 10 months or more in advance, evidence that marketing timelines are softening. We’re seeing more progressive organizers move to a two-step process. In addition to the initial proposal call, they add a second call closer to the meeting to fill programming holes with late-breaking, relevant content.
- Measuring Educational Impact
While nearly all organizations collect evaluations at their major meeting, we report on page 37 that under half measure whether learning occurs. These are similar to the 2011 numbers, but we still thinks it’s time to see the focus on learning increase.