One thing I know for sure, meeting planning for annual meetings is of the utmost importance. Sure, with these economic times, meetings and annual meetings in general, seem to be taking an enormous hit. The first cut always seems to be in the meetings area, inevitably affecting employee attendance and participation in industry meetings and conferences. Budget cuts, or the lack of budget, often result in the delaying or shelving of the planning and executing of all types of meetings and events.
But really, annual meetings are an ideal time to bring together industry professionals and experts, in the same location, with the chance to focus on an extensive variety of subjects. It’s a great time to exchange ideas, unveil “what’s new”, provide industry insight and network, network, network. A business owner recently told me he jumps at the chance to attend conferences in his chosen industry. As he put it, it is one of the only chances for him to meet, share ideas, learn and for him, network. And as he tells it, that’s his hidden gem and worth every single cent.
Meeting Planning – To Keynote or Not to Keynote
Annual meetings attempt to cover it all, education, workshops, training and of course the notion of sharing ideas.
The question is; are keynote speakers an attendee draw (or not) at Annual Meetings? And in a word, the answer is YES!
A keynote speaker is the established expert in a particular subject matter of over-all interest to all attending and they usually have an established track record with audiences far and wide. Along with their expertise, the bigger name speaker comes with nationwide recognition and a well-known reputation. Keynote speakers not only come to the table with their expertise, they are also more than capable of providing an entertaining and engaging presentation no matter the audience size.
Meeting Planning – Just Any Keynote Will NOT Do!
Keynote speakers can make or break your meeting. Just because a keynote speaker has a certain expertise or is a big ticket draw, doesn’t necessarily mean they are the right speaker for you. All keynote speakers do not represent all things to every attendee. So when researching, short listing and ultimately booking, remember to keep in mind the presentation topic, your industry, the attendee demographic and the goal for hiring a speaker. If you’re not familiar with the speaker’s work, always ask for and check references. By keeping these things on the forefront, you will always come ahead with the right speaker for your event.
For some, it has become tougher to rationalize the cost of attending meetings, conferences and conventions. Be sure to research and make your attendance decision based on what you can learn from the experience and bring back to your colleagues and share. Once you’re able to connect your work goals with the conference value, you will be able to make the right decision, to attend or not to attend.