Strategies to grow stronger ties with speakers in your CE program

Perhaps it’s an obvious statement, but the best continuing education programs are only as valuable as the information they impart on the attendees.

United States Senator Elizabeth Warren has said, “A good education is a foundation for a better future.”

At Attendee Interactive, we agree; however, we believe that this foundation is only as strong as the information supporting it, which is why the best continuing education programs consistently feature strong speakers.

Unfortunately, strong speakers can be hard to come by for a variety of reasons, ranging from a CE program’s budgetary restrictions, scheduling conflicts, and the inability to actually connect with the desired speaker, for whatever reason.

Sometimes, even the best continuing education programs believe they’ve found an engaging speaker only to be woefully disappointed, or worse — embarrassed, when that speaker actually presents.

So, what can your CE program do to find and vet stronger speakers?

We’re glad you asked — we’ve got three simple strategies that should help your CE program solicit in order to strengthen your ties with better speakers…

Know Your Audience to Source the Right Speakers

No doubt you’ve heard this before in all manner of contexts. Knowing your audience is the key to connecting with them. In fact, making the connection isn’t necessarily all that difficult. Orson Welles said, “I can think of nothing that an audience won’t understand. The only problem is to interest them; once they are interested, they understand anything in the world.”

This speaks to the importance of finding strong speakers who are able to connect with and engage your audience long enough to actually teach them something.

What makes a strong speaker?

Of course, in order to find a strong speaker, it helps to know what sets a strong speaker apart from the rest. Granted, there is a subjective element to evaluating strong speakers; however, most share some fairly universal qualities, like:

  1. Love for their subject matter: it’s one thing to know a lot about something and another to demonstrate a real passion for it. Speakers who are committed to their cause, so to speak, can’t help but radiate sincerity and engender enthusiasm from their audience.
  2. An authentic approach: this often looks like an unscripted presentation; the speaker knows their topic so well that they can just speak on the spot, appearing totally at ease while doing so. More than being at ease, truly strong speakers look like they’re enjoying themselves because, in most cases, they actually are. Keep in mind, Dale Carnegie believed “Speakers who talk about what life has taught them never fail to keep the attention of their listeners.” Finding listeners who are generous in sharing their failures and successes in equal measure will likely lead you to those voices an audience finds most endearing and, by extension, trustworthy.
  3. The ability to engage: strong speakers know how to connect with their audience and maintain that connection through engagement, interaction, and involvement.

With these three basic, but critical components of strong speaking in mind, how can you match your CE program with the right speakers for your audience?

Set the Scene: When Looking for Speakers, Deal in Reality

Put yourself in the shoes — or the seat — of someone attending your CE program. What is it they need to learn? What are they looking for in order to realize their next goal? How can you pair these audience needs with a speaker who will take your CE program and elevate it to become one of the best continuing education programs available?

Start by making strategic connections with your existing networks to source speakers who can deliver what your audience needs and consider the context of current challenges facing that industry.

For instance, if you’re hosting a CEU opportunity for realtors, search for accomplished industry leaders, like property managers, investment specialists, and financial planners who can help your attendees better understand and navigate those important issues that are complicating their industry and possibly impacting their professional success; in this example, that might be housing affordability or the rapidly evolving role of technology.

The task here is two-fold: consider what your CE program should offer its participants by finding speakers who can address the industry challenges, both current and evergreen, facing them on their professional journey.

My network isn’t cutting it… Where else can I look for speakers?

In addition to your own professional network, you can also scout for speakers through these resources:

  • Existing industry content and offerings, like conferences and podcasts. What are the hot topics and who are the authorities on them?
  • Your company’s history — what have you hosted or offered in the past that could help you mine for speaking engagement gold now?
  • The competition — what kinds of speakers are other successful CE programs featuring?

Shifting gears away from the actual speakers for a moment, you need to consider what your organization can and should do to attract speakers to your CE program.

Technology Takes the Cake… and Cutting Corners Will Cost You

We’ve all tussled with technology — whether a bad internet connection, forgetting we’ve put ourselves on mute during a Zoom call or suffering feedback from a live mic — technology issues are taxing enough behind closed doors and can be a real source of embarrassment when speaking in front of an audience.

Establish trust with your speakers by ensuring that the technology they rely on is in exceptional working order and easily accessible.

Now, the other courtesy you need to extend to your speakers is the ability to interact with more meaningful and engaging tools than a “simple show of hands.” This proves particularly critical for hybrid or virtual CE opportunities.

Attendee Interactive can show you how to leverage technology in order to better manage your speakers in support of your best continuing education programs. All of our solutions are intended to transform the attendee experience through value-driven technology designed to strengthen networks and streamline content.

Leverage technology in order to better manage your speakers

Be a Resource for Your Speakers Before, During, and After Your CE Event

Even the most seasoned speakers appreciate assistance and support before, during, and after presenting at a CE event.

Speaker Support Pre-Event

Connect with any scheduled speakers prior to the event and provide them with the opportunity to preview the event, discuss the content they intend to share, and even practice using the technology, especially any interactive features, like polling, that can create more audience engagement during their presentation.

Speaker Support During the Event

During the event, be available to handle any questions or issues that arise, particularly technology-related (which won’t happen with Attendee Interactive’s proven suite of solutions and 24/7 support).

Speaker Support, Post-Event

After the event, send a survey to attendees and share any relevant feedback with your speakers. Thank them for presenting and giving of their time and expertise by connecting them with attendees in order to expand their reach and existing network.

By providing customized event management solutions, Attendee Interactive is poised to help you present one of the best continuing education programs.

Check out what one of our customers, Kristina Mechelis, CMP, Association of Financial Professionals, had to say about our services: “I’ve enjoyed working with Attendee Interactive over the last few years. Their program makes it easy to plan out my annual city wide with over 200 functions. Every time I share my specs with vendors and partners, I always get compliments on how the information is so organized and easy to understand. That is in part to how I’m able to import information and formulate the kind of spec book I need to make sure everything is accounted for.”

Solicit stronger speakers with expert management for your next event!

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