This is not a career suicide note. It has been compiled following a challenge from two leading members of MPI (Meeting Professionals International) – Paul Cook (Former UK President) and Anthony Hyde (Immediate Past UK President). The latter has agreed to write 10 things that event planners dislike about speakers. Of course, we all love each other really. But just occasionally, things go awry.
So here’s my list:
1. No confirmation of the event. A booking has been made months ahead, it’s in pencil in the speaker’s diary, but there is no further communication until three days before the gig.
2. Re-organisation of the agenda. An opening keynote becomes a closing keynote, or a workshop becomes a breakfast seminar. The last person to know may be the speaker.
3. No time for rehearsal. A professional speaker will always want to run a sound check and room check well before their speech.
4. No-fee events, with no obvious benefit to the speaker. There may be promises of “great networking opportunities”, but when the tea and biscuits cost more than a top-quality speaker, something is wrong.
5. Filming the speaker without permission (or a release form which gives away the speaker’s copyright). This should never happen, and should be negotiated in advance.
6. Telling the speaker as they begin “Can you cut your speech by 20 minutes” or “can you keep going until coffee – the next speaker hasn’t arrived”
7. Demanding copies of slides three months in advance. Many speakers don’t use slides. Some event planners don’t understand that.
8. No briefing for the speakers, or no contact with the end client. This is all too common, and can lead to a mis-match between speaker and audience. Building a relationship between speaker and client is crucial.
9. No speaker liaison person and no response to speaker enquiries.
10. Late cancellations and subsequent debates about cancellation fees.
Other than that, everything is fine! Of course, the above happen only rarely – and I hope they never happen to you. I love event planners really.
Alan Stevens, President of the Global Speakers Federation, a PR and social media specialist, Author and Media Coach. www.alanstevens.net