27 Jul Three Ways to Leave Conference Speaker Selection in the Hands of your Audience
In the age of social-everything, there’s no need to take the close-your-eyes-and-pray method to choosing conference speakers.
Survey Last Year’s Attendees
Your attendees from last year are one of your best resources for constructive feedback. It’s best if you can collate feedback collected right after last year’s event was over, but if you don’t have access to that data (it was never collected, or maybe the organizer from last year’s conference is unavailable), jump onto last year’s mailing list and send out a survey. Whose speech did attendees most enjoy? What do they best remember about the previous year? What topics would they be most interested in hearing about this year? Anyone they’d particularly like to hear from?
Professional event speakers are typically very active on social media, and they should have a significant following. The more followers and the more reach their posts get, the more support they have from the community, and the more likely they are to put on a good show. Klout is a free web app that measures the impact of experts by topic, using their social media oomph as a measurement. Search for any topic, and Klout will return a series of experts in that field, ranked by their social impact.
Speakerrate, a sandbox project by the innovation lab at Viget, is a cool social startup that benefits event organizers, speakers and attendees, allowing planners to find “the perfect speakers for your event based on real audience ratings and recommendations.” You can view past talks, and see how attendees rated these speakers in the past.