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DC Dinner: Recapping Our Conversation With 27 Event Executives

Small Gatherings, Big Discussions

This year the Sessionboard team has been focused on fostering in-depth and meaningful conversations with the people who drive the events industry. The modus operandi has been to recognize the folks who are changing the game on the event content management front, learn from their insight and expertise, and share it with our community.

While we’ve been working on this through our “Sessions” interview series, our team has also been on the move across the nation bringing the conversations to a city near you. We’re hosting a multi-city event series with top event professionals to create learning and networking opportunities for all who attend.

Sessions: Local Edition

Last week, with the teams at Shiloh Events and Accelevents, the DC area came together for a few hours to discuss event design and how to leverage event technology to create a better experience for key segments: attendees and speakers. 

When it came time to talk through the multi-faceted relationship between event organizers and their speakers, these event organizers shared insights and perspectives on how to enhance value and create long-term collaborations. 

Here’s a glimpse into conversations that were had and what we heard: 

Speakers are critical to the success of events of any size

The role of the speaker doesn’t begin whenever they take the stage, it begins the moment you go to market with your event. Leveraging your speakers to drive attendance is critical for an event’s overall success. 

Do you have a speaker budget? Bringing in big names or notable speakers can be a pivotal factor in determining the success of an event. 

Big names doesn’t mean A-list celebrities – poll your members and regular attendees on who they follow, what content they’re engaging with and who they trust as a thought leader. This can be a powerful insight to increase registrations and contribute to the event’s overall impact. These individuals often carry significant influence, drawing larger audiences and lending credibility to the occasion.

It’s not only about the attendee journey

The relationship with your speakers starts early, potentially even before registration opens. What are you doing to make the most of your initial impression?(Speaker portal plug) Event organizers can utilize Sessionboard's speaker portals for a seamless onboarding journey, setting a positive tone for collaboration early on. By leveraging these portals, organizers can streamline the process for speakers, providing them with a centralized platform to access essential resources, submit required materials, and communicate pertinent details.

(left to right) Huong Nguyen, CEO & Founder of Shiloh Events, Andrew Asaro, Director of Business Development at Sessionboard, Megan Saad, Senior Account Executive at Sessionboard, Jonathan Kazarian, CEO of Accelevents, Andrew Leighton, Director of Sales at Accelevents, John Nolt, Vice President of Product at Accelevents.

Connecting speakers with… speakers

If your event prioritizes attracting top industry experts as speakers, they'll naturally seek opportunities to connect with one another.

Facilitating networking among speakers not only enhances the value of their participation but also encourages them to stay longer and enjoy a more fulfilling experience. 

Transforming your speaker ready room into a dedicated lounge area could allow speakers not only to prepare for their presentations but also to engage exclusively with their peers, fostering valuable connections and conversations.

How have you nurtured long-term relationships with speakers

As event professionals, how can we unlock the full potential of our speakers to enhance both the quality of content and the overall allure of our events?

For some speakers, their experience may be limited to showing up at your event, presenting, and then departing. However, event organizers have the opportunity to enhance both the on-site and post-event experiences. 

Repurposing speakers' content after the event concludes not only sustains engagement but also fosters enduring connections beyond the live event, resulting in increased brand impressions. This win-win strategy is a crucial aspect that should not be underestimated or overlooked.

The right tool can revolutionize your event marketing efforts via your speaker network

There was a lot of buzz over our new Speaker CRM, which optimizes efficiency in speaker curation, management, and utilization, extending beyond content delivery to incorporate speakers into our broader marketing strategies.

Final thoughts...

The evening flew by as everyone in the room was enthusiastic about sharing, a powerful aspect of the events community. 

As we continue to host smaller gatherings, it's essential to identify key topics for discussion. We will be continuing the conversation for emerging event technologies, sustainable event practice, attendee engagement strategies, diversity and inclusion for event success, and leveraging your speaker data for overall success. Our goal is for these topics to fuel meaningful exchanges and inspire fresh approaches to event management and content delivery.

Andrew and Megan, the best duo in Event Tech 😎.

Next Up: Dallas Here We Come!

If you want to learn more about our upcoming dinner and discussion in Dallas. TX on April 18th, reach out to Andrew Asaro: [email protected]

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