We all want to create an event that is full of uniquely engaging conference speakers, but how do we do that?

First, we need to change the way we look at conferences. Most events no longer want basic conference speakers. A speaker standing in front of the crowd talking at them with slides is no longer enough. Planners want someone that enjoys their brand, loves to incorporate technology, is full of charisma, and knows how to work an audience.

To really engage the audience you’ll need to find someone that appeals to them and can provide a unique feel to your event. When you find an engaging conference speaker, you are finding someone that will connect with your attendees from the beginning to the end.

Ensuring conference speakers are engaging will lead to audience engagement which creates loyal attendees. By using the tools and tips below, you’ll surely find engaging conference speakers that will keep the attendees connected to your event and will leave wanting to come back year after year.

What Makes for an Engaging Speaker?

Conference speakers do so much more than present nowadays. Being “spoon-fed” what to do is a thing of the past. A great conference speaker needs to stand out and be unique. We are living in a world in which technology leads our everyday lives so naturally incorporating technology into each presentation is a must. And we aren’t talking slideshows. Conference speakers should no longer rely solely on their PowerPoint presentations. Presenting is about building connections and keeping the attendees engaged throughout the entire presentation. Using currently tech tools and human touches are a great combination to truly reach your audience.

We’ve come up with a few “must-haves” that will guide you in the right direction to finding engaging conference speakers below.

Conference Speaker Must-Haves

They Tell a Story

An engaging conference speaker should be a captivating storyteller in the way they present your event’s content. They should have a mesmerizing charisma that keeps the attendees hooked. They should magnetize the audience with their story, all while educating the audience. Engaging conference speakers know how to work the crowd, watch for body language, and transition smoothly from one section of content to the next. These speakers aren’t just reading off their slides but taking the audience on an adventure through storytelling. The best conference speakers are capable of making swift changes based on audience interactions and have taken the time to understand the dynamics of the audience before they step onto the stage.

They are Tech-Savvy

An engaging conference speaker should be comfortable incorporating technology into their presentation. And, not only should the speaker feel comfortable incorporating technology but they should have proven experience in doing so. An engaging conference speaker is on top of their game as far as the tech world goes and knows what’s up and coming. As we mentioned earlier, most attendees want what’s new and exciting. They are sick of traditional speakers reading off slides. Today, it’s less about the slides and more about creating a great attendee experience by using tech-enhanced tools.  

More than ever, attendees want to try new things and feel like they can add their thoughts and perspectives to the learning process, this is why crowdsourcing and live polls are so important. Incorporating crowdsourcing and live polls build the connection between the attendees and the speaker, but also the attendees and the content. Technology gives the attendees the opportunity to be a part of the process through real-time Q&As, polls, and interactive newsfeeds.

They Are Flexible

Engaging conference speakers should be willing and capable of making adjustments mid-presentation based on their audience. You’ll want to look for conference speakers that have a great amount experience but are also known to be flexible and able to read a crowd. An expert speaker should be able and willing to make adjustments so the presentation is a success for both the attendees and your event.

Being flexible also goes for unexpected emergencies. There may be outside presenters and events that run short or long. Engaging conference speakers will be able to rework their speech for the time they have and make it the best experience for your event.

They Have Similar Interests

This one is crucial! In order to be a truly engaging conference speaker, you have to have an interest in the event and the topic present to the attendees.  The right conference speaker will create an experience that your attendees will not want to miss out on. On top of this, when the conference speaker is genuinely interested in your brand they are more willing to promote your event, more on this below.

They Add Value

An engaging conference speaker should add value to your event. This may seem like an obvious one but it’s often forgotten! Have you ever been to an event and sat in on a speaker that was bland and you couldn’t for the life of you figure out how they fit into the event? They ultimately did not add value to your experience and maybe even made you feel like you wasted your time. Don’t let this happen at your conference! Conference speakers should genuinely be interested in your event and have something valuable to offer your attendees. The added value will show through when you have an engaging conference speaker that takes time to build a connection to your event and the audience.

Bonus, giving guests things that have real value like a free e-book or sample product will leave a lasting positive impression.

Crowd-sourcing

Crowdsourcing allows the attendees to be included in the presentation. Instead of the audience sitting and listening to the speaker, they are now interacting with each other and the presenter. Harvard research has found that interactive learning triples retention rates.

To keep the audience engaged, the conference speaker can include event apps like Sli.do and Glisser. Both of these apps are known to engage the audience. Attendees are no longer having to scramble to take notes from each slide or wait until after the event to view the survey results.

With crowdsourcing, they can download slides, interact with other attendees using the interactive newsfeed, and participate in live audience polling. They no longer have to hope they digest everything the speaker has said and then go back and present it to their company. Using these apps, they are able to actively participate and enjoy the presentation and not have to worry about digesting everything all at once.

It’s important to note, if conference speakers decide to not include these interactive tools, they will be more likely to have an audience that loses interest and does not leave knowing the key points of the presentation that they can then share with others. Overall, the less interactive tools the speaker uses, the higher the chance that attendees are just filling a seat and not getting anything from the presentation.

Conclusion

Conference speakers really set the tone for the event, so it’s important to choose them wisely. We’ve all been to those events where they have speakers that are not prepared or not really committed to the event in a variety of ways. Ultimately, they end up leaving us with a poor taste in our mouth.

Find engaging conference speakers that are prepared and willing to connect with the audience. Incorporate technology and have experience being flexible. Engaging conference speakers are fresh and always willing to switch up their presentations based on the content they are presenting for. It’s good to keep things fresh and exciting for your attendees so that you are building long-lasting attendees. Attendees that feel connected to your brand and what you can provide them at your event.

Overall, engaging conference speakers are the ones that will impact the attendees. Create meaningful experiences that the attendees can then take back to their business and build upon.

What are some things that you’ve seen from engaging conference speakers? Comment below!