Four Types of Conference Speaker

As my career has developed as a speaker I have come to believe that there are four main categories of speaker in the market place. By “speakers” I am talking about people who perform at conferences and conventions across the globe, playing a specific role in the event. Herein lies the graveyard of many events where they make a fatal error of not deciding what that role should be. Is it simply to fill in some time during the event? Will the speaker be delivering the key new global strategy or are they there to rebuild the confidence of the team after extreme cuts?

Before a speaker can be chosen the objective outcomes of the event must be understood in order to get the best balance between in-house personnel, quality in-house speakers and external professional speakers and moderators. I make the differential here between in-house personnel and in-house speakers because we have all been to conferences where someone has been given the perceived “poison chalice” and had to get up and speak – they are so uncomfortable, unprepared and clearly do not want to be there. I believe the split between these two types of in-house speaker is at least 80:20, which is why there is such a huge opportunity and market for professional speakers. 

My four categories of speaker are as follows:-
(Please note that these are stated in their broadest terms and are not meant to be all encompassing)

The Entertainer:  ranging from the after-dinner speaker to the performer, magician or comedian – their role is primarily to entertain and have fun.

The Content Speaker:  more often than not these are the speakers who are driving home a message, either business or technology or theory related – their role is to engage and educate.

The Motivational Speaker: – someone who has achieved great things, regularly these are ex-sporting heroes or celebrities who share their tale – their message can often be “get off your backside and get on with it”.

The Inspirational Speaker: –one step further than the Motivational Speaker. Their personal story, often tragic, is their inspiration to get on with life and to coin a phrase from one of the best Inspiration Speakers I have ever had the pleasure to meet W Mitchel – ‘It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it’.

Most speakers will fit partly into all of these categories but will have a leaning towards one particular category. I come under the category of Content Speaker. My objective is to get audiences to look at what they are doing in their personal and professional lives and as a result of hearing me talk they go away and improve their productivity and reduce their Faffing About.

Mike Pagan is a highly sought after professional motivational speaker, conference speaker, and business coach. He has half a lifetimes experience in the corporate world with HSBC Group and Forte Group with Granada Group.
“My passion is productivity, one of my greatest frustrations in life is seeing talent and opportunities go to waste because of faffing about.”

Choosing Conference Venues

A conference can make or break a company. Holding a conference is the ideal opportunity to reach out to new clients, keep current ones satisfied and advertise your company’s policies and philosophies. The venue that you choose for your conference should reflect your company’s ideals perfectly. It should make your delegates feel motivated and your speakers feel inspired, and facilities, such as food and drink, should make all attendees feel welcome.  Choose a poor venue and the reputation of your company could be tarnished. There is such an overabundance of venues for hire, though, that choosing one can feel like an impossible task. But by taking a few points into consideration, you can select your perfect venue, and hold a conference that your company can be proud of.

Your choice of conference venue should reflect your company’s ethos and character. It should convey a level of professionalism that echoes that of your company. It can be interesting to choose a more unique, leftfield venue for your venue, but you need to make sure that it suits the nature of your company. But go too leftfield and you could end up alienating speakers and delegates.  If you’re in any doubt, then you should choose somewhere that is functional, yet inspiring.

You should spend some time thinking about where your conference delegates will be coming from. This should help you to decide on a location from where you can choose from suitable venues.  The venue should be in a central location that is easily accessible for all attendees of the conference. There should be good transport links to your venue, and it should be close to train stations and accessible from the airport. If a lot of people are going to be driving to the conference, then there should be adequate car parking facilities within easy walking distance from the conference venue.

Make sure that you narrow your choice of venues down to one that is an appropriate size for the attendees. Try your best to gauge how many people will be attending before finalising a venue. Venues that are too large will make it look like your conference hasn’t been a success, and could make it difficult for delegates to network and meet new people. On the other hand, venues that are too small could make attendees feel uncomfortable and could prevent them from getting the most out of all the facilities available at the conference.

While a lot of additional facilities are not essential for a conference, they can make guests more comfortable and feel like they are welcome, looked after guests. Many venues for hire offer facilities as part of the package, but you should look into what’s included and whether it will be satisfactory. Look into whether the conference venue will provide any office equipment, such as whiteboards, projectors, pens and paper. There should also be enough facilities for all the guests to feel satisfied for the duration of the day, for example comfortable seating and heating or air conditioning.

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