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What Planners Want from Speakers: Top 5 Requests

“People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.” — Samuel Johnson

Consider today’s message a reminder.

When I surveyed meeting planners a while back, I asked what speakers could do to impress them the most. I doubt you’ll be surprised by any of their top five requests, but I hope sharing this list will serve to affirm some things you’re already doing and perhaps remind you of some things that you should be doing more often (or better). Here we go:

  1. Know your audience and speak to them. By far, the top request from planners was for speakers to know their audiences and tailor their speeches accordingly (even if just slightly).
  2. Be friendly and cooperative. A smile, “please,” “no problem,” and “thank you” every now and then will go a long way.
  3. Don’t be prima donnas. Harsh words used by more than one planner. Even speakers with the best of intentions can become a bit self-absorbed at times, so be on alert for things that could be taken the wrong way.
  4. Be available for meet-and-greets and/or receptions. This allows the planner to deliver added value to their attendees, which brings kudos their way. And they’ll know they have you to thank.
  5. Call upon arrival at the hotel/venue. A planner’s greatest fear is that his/her speaker won’t show up. A simple phone call upon your arrival to say “I’m here safe and sound” will bring tremendous peace of mind to your client.

Now, here’s your chance to pat yourself on the back:

What have you done — or what do you routinely do — that gets the most praise from planners? Leave a comment below.

3 Comments on “What Planners Want from Speakers: Top 5 Requests

Carol Grace Anderson
March 5, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Planners that I’ve worked with recently want substance presented in an entertaining and memorable way. Any specific action steps you offer have high value… as well as availability after your program for book signings, meeting the attendees, etc. In other words, come early and stay late. That’s reasonable.

Shawn
March 8, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Thanks, Carol — couldn’t have said it better! “substance… entertaining… memorable” — that’ll work every time! 🙂

Yvonne Conte
August 30, 2011 at 8:01 am

Arrive early and stay late really makes a great impression on the meeting planner. ALWAYS call to let them know you arrived. I also ask beforehand; What can I do above and beyond to help make this event over the top successful? The biggest thing is don’t be a Diva.

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