Many years ago, someone predicted that video conferencing would take over the world and speakers would no longer be invited to speak at live events.
As we all know, that did not happen. And do you want to know why?
Because part of the success of live events is the ability for people to interact with each other and there is no replacing a live speaker.
So, what trends do we see in the meeting industry that are having an impact on how you need to run your speaking business? Let’s take a look at four that are definitely worth watching and explore them to see how you might be able to capitalize on them.
4 Trends Speakers Need to Watch in the Meeting Industry
1. Clients Want More for Less
Okay, maybe this is not a ‘trend,’ but becoming more the standard in the industry – clients want more for less. As meeting budgets get tighter, speakers are always going to be asked to negotiate their fees. Remember, when you come from a position of power, it is much easier to stand tall in your fees.
Three questions to ask yourself when being forced to negotiate your fees:
- On the day of this engagement will I feel good about this fee?
- Have I pushed back enough? (When you roll over right away, you seldom feel good about your negotiation).
- Will I be sacrificing another full fee client by accepting this fee on this date?
And remember the first rule of negotiation: be willing to walk away. When you ask the client “why did you come to me?”, that gives you some ammunition to use during the negotiation and gets them “whooped up” about choosing you.
And once you get the gig, you should immediately be thinking about how you can go deeper with the client to be able to offer more and get some spin-off business.
2. Short Timelines
When I started in the business, we booked a year out and sometimes up to a year and a half. Then it gradually moved to months out. Today, many speakers are dealing with 4-6 week timelines, and sometimes less than that!
The downside of this is cash flow. It can be challenging for a speaker to plan under these circumstances. The upside, however, is an unexpected boost in short-term income. And if you do negotiate your fees (which I am not recommending), you may not regret it because another booking may be coming along right behind it.
For the more in-demand speakers, people will book further out because they want them no matter what. I have several clients who will close off the month or the year because they are fully booked. The upside to this for all is that it teaches decision makers that “if they want a particular speaker, they need to plan in advance.”
As an example, Lynn Mandinec, who manages Ryan Estis, says:
“We are so booked that short timelines rarely happen. Many dates on our calendar have 4 or more holds. Once we were able to do a “save” for a speaker who was unable to get to the event, but all of the stars had to align for that one; right city, right timing, etc. If people really want Ryan, then they have to plan ahead.”
3. Social Media
Social media plays a big part in almost everything we do, and meetings and conferences are no different. Clients are monitoring the hashtag of an event and all of its social buzz to see how big of an impact you have made and if you are a part of the conversation. There’s no longer an option to “parachute” into an event, do your thing and leave. Speakers today have to promote and engage.
Erin Gargan is the founder of Socialite, a team of social media event professionals. She is also a professional speaker who talks about social media and digital persuasion. She provides a checklist of things that speakers can do to help promote an event and further engage with their audience, including:
- Before the event – Identify and follow the event social media channels and the official event hashtag
- Before the event – upload an introduction video (Hey Event, I’m excited to speak with you about PREVIEW TOPIC, TEASER, message me on SOCIAL NETWORK, so I understand what you would like to learn more about re: this TOPIC at the event) to your social networks and use the event hashtag
- During the event – make sure you are shareable and have your social handle prominent on every slide with your name, title, and company spelled out somewhere on stage.
- After the event – Create a post-event promotion using the show hashtag- what did you feel was missing from my presentation that you would have liked to hear more about? One random person will win a signed copy of my book to say thank you for your feedback. This is an excellent way to optimize your next speech with audience-generated content ideas.
You may look at the social media aspect of an event as ‘more work’, but if done correctly, you can use it as a way to further promote your own business and expertise. Furthermore, there is a chance that other event planners may see the activity and that can be a definite boost to put you on their radar!
4. Using Video to Prime the Pump
More and more meetings are using video pre-conference to promote their event to attendees. I have been watching the video rolling in for NSA’s Influence 17 conference. They have done a great job of making us familiar with the speakers and getting us excited before we even land in Orlando!
Not only are companies using videos to prime the pump before an event, there are lots of ways to use video to further the learning and reach more people.
Karen Harris is the CEO at cmi speaker management. Here is her insight on the video trend:
“The number of customers that have videotaped has increased over the last two years substantially. Almost all of them have placed the videos online for extended learning/viewing. Those who have done live streaming shared it with attendees who were unable to attend and/or their satellite offices. I fully expect that this trend will continue to increase as more and more organizations are using video for learning/training.”
What trends and changes are you seeing in the meeting industry? Please share with us in the comments below!
See you soon Wealthy Speakers!