The Obligation of the Selection Committee
Continuation of 2 previous posts –
I have just come from a very busy two months of conferencing opportunities and have a bit of a breather before they begin again in late spring/early summer.
And as I listen to keynote speakers and presenters….I admit, I have become a bit of a snoot. It is not that I expect to be “entertained” but I do expect to be inspired, encouraged, motivated, and pushed a bit out of my comfort zone. (hopefully you feel the same)
So….as I, and many of my fellow audience attendees, are gearing up for upcoming conferences…..here are some suggestions for the selection committee….
1. Content is much more valuable than name
Perhaps it is just me, but I don’t decide whether to attend a conference based on the keynote….(in fact, gasp, sometimes I don’t even go to the keynote.)
So please don’t let the NAME DROPPING FACTOR outweigh the importance of their content.
We want someone relevant….sincere…..thought-provoking….and enthusiastic for education…..not just a name we can brag that we heard.
2. Be diversified
Look for content but also be aware of your options.
There are very good women keynote speakers out there….yes there are.
There are very good keynote speakers that are NOT from North America.
There are very good keynote speakers who are not Caucasian.
There are very good keynote speakers who are ….. (you can fill in the blank.)
3. Be aware of the audience
You will never find any keynote speaker that is appreciated by all….but be aware that the people in the audience have a variety of differences and the keynote podium should NOT be a soapbox for the keynote’s personal beliefs — just so they can nag on things.
Sharing your thoughts is respectable, alienating the audience due to your personal agenda is not.
4. Do not pay them to keynote JUST to promote their new book or product
Almost all the time, the keynote’s bio will mention his/her book — as well as slides within their presentation…..but the keynote should not be the time to sell their book. Can they mention a few parts of their book — sure, that might be the reason they were chosen to present — but to go on and on and on about “what they did” is not keynote material.
5. Do NOT book a keynote speaker who is not willing to be streamed
The keynote speaker should be MORE than willing for their content to be offered beyond the auditorium…if they are not, look elsewhere.
6. Book the keynote speaker for 2 more hours AFTER the keynote
Too many keynote speakers fly in and fly out. They have a book signing and then POOF they are gone. Please extend the keynote’s time by 2 hours for a question/answer time AFTER they keynote. Perhaps put them on a panel of others — so they are not now a bulls-eye — but extend the conversation. I, myself, often have questions and need some clarifications after the keynote and an immediate follow-up would be appreciated.
7. Have a place for resources
Provide an online location for the presenter to share their content….as soon as possible after the session/keynote.
8. Invite student voices!
We want to hear from students……We need to hear from students.
9. Have enough seats
or look back to suggestion 5.
There is nothing worse than walking to a keynote session and finding out that there is no room left.
This might be understandable for a session — but not the keynote. You know your expected audience count — so make sure you have the room OR
look back to suggestion 5 and have alternate locations posted.
10. Know that we appreciate your hard work
It is impossible to make everyone happy….but we know you really want to offer your attendees the best conference opportunity you can — and keynotes are an important part.
Know that even though we might not remember to say THANKS, we do thank you for working hard to make this conference a success for us.
Feel free to share your thoughts —
and go ahead and Name Drop some Keynote Speakers you think should be heard!
Thank you for extending the conversation.