Managing Speaker Info Overload

Author: Convene Editors       

speaker confirmation

Mahoganey Jones presents at PCMA EduCon 2019 in Los Angeles. Readers of PCMA’s Catalyst forum are offering advice about speaker confirmation and information emails. (Jacob Slaton Photography)

PCMA’s Catalyst community offers members a platform to ask each other questions, share ideas, or, as the website says, “communicate and collaborate.” Each month Convene features some of the most popular topics in the forum. Here’s a sampling from a recent Catalyst discussion.

Speaker Engagement

“I’m looking to revamp our speaker confirmation and information email,” Krista Rakovan, manager, Education and Events, The Humane Society of the United States, told the Catalyst community. “We provide so much information including dates, times, locations, AV equipment they will have, the session description, handout information and deadlines, biography and picture request, speaker MOU, expense reimbursement information, hotel booking information, and more. Has anyone come up with a good format for providing a lot of information in a clear way that won’t make them glaze over after the first paragraph? I use an Excel document to keep all of the speaker information organized and use Mail Merge to send out the email, which means I can’t include attachments. All the info has to be in the body of the email. If you have a template or an example you could share, I’d appreciate it. Thank you!”

I would recommend splitting up the information over a series of emails leading up to the event. This makes the content more easily digestible while, at the same time, maintaining engagement with your speakers.

— Barry Schieferstein, CMP, American Society for Nondestructive Testing

We provide information to speakers in a variety of ways — the confirmation email is very short and basically provides a few important points about our speaker portal, registration, and copyright. Then, we send an email to each session. In that email, we connect the speakers and send them information about planning (link to descriptor, AV, room set, etc.), registration, speaker portal, and accommodations. We’ve worked really hard to streamline this so it’s digestible. In doing so, we push the speakers out to other areas of information — a two-page handout that provides more information on best practices in presenting, and a link to an online speaker portal. The portal is where they add photos, biographies, hotel information, and handouts. The portal is connected to our event website. This is all run by CadmiumCD. We then send a followup on deadline dates (which the speaker portal as the capacity to do as well), and a final email about on-site logistics.

We run into the same issues that you have — we have so much to say (and because people have asked the information of us), but it’s hard to put it in a format that someone will read!

The speaker portal has definitely helped in streamlining messages because we can put so much information there. I’m happy to share our documents if you’d like.

— Mariellen Morris, director of conferences, Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research

Looking for Compelling Speakers? Check out Pass the Mic, a hand-picked list of speakers who raise the bar in making events more inclusive — and more interesting.

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