Conference Survival Guide - Part 2: 6 Proven Strategies for Putting Powerful Draws on Stage

Posted on

June 29, 2022

For events to thrive in a post-Covid era with economic headwinds, they need to become even more compelling. While the venue, marketing, community, activities, and sponsors play a role in drawing attendees, there is a premium on presenters that “bring it.”

What makes a high-draw speaker? Charisma, a strong point of view, and a compelling take on a significant challenge (professional or personal) helps. Lots of their own followers they’ll promote your event to and name recognition are also pluses.

High-draw speakers engage, entertain and educate. They often provide fresh insight and perspective on event-related topics. Frequently they inspire audiences and drive positive change, perhaps providing action items and motivational takeaways. They relate and resonate. 

Putting high-draw speakers on your stages is good because audiences love the increased excitement and energy. It’s great because registration growth can snowball. 

More people register, so more people believe your event will be worthwhile, so more people register. The increased draw can make the difference in an event’s continued survival. 

What are six proven strategies for putting high-draw speakers on stage at your events?

#1) Recruit speakers with large followings.

Seek presenters who have personal platforms quantified by numbers of subscribers, mailing list contacts, and followers. Traditional media personalities with sizeable TV shows can work. Million-seller authors and celebrity executives from popular companies also tend to draw excited attendees.

#2) Create positive drama.

  • “X will debate Y to finally answer the question, which strategy is best!”
  • Gameshow format for panelists
  • “Speed round putting your most-asked questions to our speaker”
  • “Our expert will pull 3 people from the audience and give their event/profile/project a real-time makeover!”

#3) Get resourceful bidding “more” for great presenters

There are many kind of inducements, even for top-tier talent. It never hurts to ask, even if they’re beyond your budget. Maybe they’ve got a blank spot on their calendar. Maybe they have friends near your venue, or an affection for the area. There are lots of ways to “sweeten” your offer. The key is to imagine all the things you have of value to elite speakers. You have a lot to offer. You can offer them valuable promotion of their brand with your mailing list, social followers and event marketing budget. You can associate them with your positive mission. You can offer them honors, awards, the prestige of judging contests or leadership roles on advisory councils. 

What if your resources are scarce to entice great speakers? If you’re short of budget, offer more honors. If you’re short of experts, give your high-draw presenter a keynote. If you’re short of speaking slots, let them run a panel. If you’re short of everything, play matchmaker. Offer to introduce them to any vendors, buyers, influencers they would like to spend time with. Share your opt-in mailing list. If they’re short on prep time, offer a fireside chat. When in doubt, flatter, negotiate, and grovel!

#4) Make your best speakers your best recruiters. 

Talented Speakers want to be part of a great show. They tend to network with other talented presenters. They tend to make friends they can collaborate with. They may have agents who represent other speakers. Once you have one hot high-draw speaker, it tends to be easier to recruit more.

#5) Survey attendees early and often.

If you know what prospective attendees want most, it’s easier to give it to them. What topics are they most concerned or excited about? What experts do they most want to hear from? Who were the top 5 speakers they ever heard before? Maybe you can find someone with similar style. What celebrities do they find most inspiring?

#6) Leverage super-inclusivity.

If you want to maximize inclusivity, start by looking at the numbers. Globally, only 6% of people have English as a 1st language. For another 12% English is a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th language, but they may not be comfortable speaking or learning in it all day. 82% of the global population has no English proficiency. What this means is that no matter what language your presenter speaks, 10x more people speak some other language. New event technology can bridge this gap. AI-powered conference interpretation such as Wordly, offers massively-scalable real-time translation that can increase your speaker’s reach up to 10x. That’s super-inclusivity.

There is an added wrinkle to AI-powered interpretation. It also expands the talent pool you can put on stage. You can have the world’s greatest expert speak to your audience in her or his best language, and the audience can follow along in their preferred language. This has several benefits. International presenters attract international attendees. It increases expectation of relevance to their region and realities. It helps grow your market, your prestige, and richer knowledge sharing. This tends to create a more vibrant community amongst your attendee base. 

To learn more about Wordly interpretation services, please visit our website or schedule a personalized demo.

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