Tidbits from the Forthcoming 2013 Speaker Report

BY Celisa Steele

The 2013 Speaker ReportWe at Tagoras and the folks at Velvet Chainsaw are busy analyzing the data we collected from 175 survey respondents in June and July on their use of use professional and industry speakers at their meetings.

We expect to release the full free report later this month. So sign up for the Leading Learning newsletter to make sure you’re notified when the report is released.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a few findings from the survey data.

  • Sponsorship is on the rise.

Over 27 percent of organizations use sponsorship more than over the past two years—up from 16.2 percent in the speaker survey we conducted in 2011. We predicted in the last report that we’d see just such a rise, as exhibitors want increasingly to be associated with thought leadership.

  • What’s in a name? Maybe not that much.

Under a third (28.3 percent) of those surveyed believe a “big name” speaker is very or extremely important for attracting registrants.

  • Organizations expect more of their hired speakers.

Among survey respondents who hire professional speakers, 66.1 percent (up from 56.6 in our 2011 survey) expect them to put in more than just their time on stage. Of that 66.1 percent, three-quarters report asking professional speakers to participate in other elements of the meeting. Two-fifths ask professional speakers to write a newsletter or magazine article or be interviewed; participate in a pre-meeting online conversation via LinkedIn, Twitter, or another avenue; or record a promotional video. About a quarter ask their professional speakers to write a post for their organization’s or meeting’s blog or present or facilitate a pre- or post-meeting Webinar.

  • Multiple-speaker sessions look popular.

On average, 152.0 industry speakers present at survey respondents’ major meeting; the median is 50.0 speakers. The average number of sessions at that meeting is 94.1, with a median of 53.0. So the median speaker-to-session ratio is almost exactly 1:1, but the average is closer to 3:2, suggesting multiple speakers are presenting at the same session, perhaps in a panel or combined mini-sessions approach.

  • Internal processes allow for fresher content.

Over three-quarters of survey respondents use a call for proposals or presentations (CFPs) to help source content for their major meeting. The largest grouping (41.3 percent) of those organizations closes the CFP 8 to 9 months prior to the meeting. We believe at least some sessions need to be set even closer to the meeting time to allow the freshest, most relevant content. But, on the good-news front, only a fifth of respondents close the CFP 10 months or more before the meeting, down from a third reporting in our 2011 survey that their CFPs close 10 months or more in advance.

In the final report, you’ll find a lot more data and more of our thoughts on what it means for meetings.

To be notified when the free report is available, sign up for the Leading Learning newsletter.



Next Thursday, September 12, we’re offering a complimentary Webinar, sponsored by LearnSomething, on assessing your market for education products. Register for free at https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/885924822.

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