Samme Allen, Head of
Conference and Events Sales at Twickenham Experience discusses the Importance
of talented speakers in response to delegate engagement at every conference.
A recent survey conducted by multi-channel events provider
Mediamaker has revealed that 82% of delegates don’t fully engage with event
content. Whilst we at Twickenham agree that more creative, interactive methods
should be used in order to encourage engagement at every event, I’d like to
raise the point that in many cases, the importance of a great speaker is often
I agree with Mediamaker MD Alison Glaves that a review of
the ‘death by powerpoint’ method is very much needed. However, we must ensure
that the core message or agenda of the conference is not lost in a sea of technology,
delivering content in a way that is personable and still accessible to both
generation X and Y attendees.
For example, specially developed technologies
such as sli.do’s event app for Google Glass, which was recently showcased at
our inaugural Twickenham Talks event allow the event organiser to overcome the
issue of audience participation, with the app allowing delegates to ask
questions, either anonymously or by giving their names. These new interactive
methods can easily be utilised in conjunction with a talented speaker, allowing
conference content to inspire, involve and educate the modern day delegate of
In most cases, hearing from the CEO or relevant corporate
spokesperson is often an imperative aspect of the annual conference. We
actively take the opportunity to help our clients develop innovative solutions,
using the venue in a creative way to help delegates engage, be that using video
of the spokesperson entering the venue via the England Changing Room or tunnel
or generally utilising the inspirational backdrop and including it within the
context of the presentation.
With many events however, there is always a danger
that if presentation skills are lacking, then audience concentration levels
will suffer. We should make the distinction between the people who speak at a
conference and a true speaker.
Having recently partnered with speaker agency Benchmark
Talent, here at Twickenham we have some of the most inspirational speakers in
the world of sport at our fingertips. With talented speakers such as England
Rugby champion Will Greenwood and British Olympian and former Rugby player
Jermaine Olasan among many others, our speakers offer organisers the
opportunity to captivate their delegates whilst keeping to the agenda and
ensuring the focus remains on learning.
As much as I believe new technologies and digital methods
such as social media should be encouraged, there is a concern that this may
(somewhat ironically) remove the more social elements which should still be
prevalent at corporate events. We are an industry which values face time, so
technology should be utilised carefully, intelligently and in conjunction with
talented and inspirational speakers or moderators so as not to totally strip
away the personable aspect of events.
Any comments? Email Zoe Vernor