Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Speakers are an Important Part of the Meeting Industry
An unexpected side effect to my career as a speaker has been my immersion in the meetings industry. Yes, meetings mean business. In fact there is $263 Billion spent on meetings each year, and that makes it a big business!
Conferences, trade shows, conventions, seminars, company all-hands gatherings, incentive events, association conclaves, etc.... are wide spread. In most cities you can have a "three-name tag day" with local networking events (meaning you'll wear a name tag at breakfast, lunch and dinner). Then there are the regional, national and international events. There are nearly 2 million events per year in United States alone.
Many speakers do not see themselves as part of the greater meetings industry. They are happy to speak, but miss the pivotal role they serve. Additionally the meeting professionals can easily overlook the close ties that speakers can have to the greater business success. Most meetings utilize people who speak, but without speakers there would be less meetings and more white papers sent by email. Speakers (professionals and others) have the ability to set the tone for every meeting.
Speakers are not just vendors.... but success partners. Being part of this industry is an honor... and a lot of fun!!!
I will speak at more than 50 events in 2012 (I have delivered over 300 career presentations). These meetings range from small local events to international conventions. This year I have the pleasure of presenting at conferences for PCMA, MPI and DMAI (plus several chapter meetings for these groups). I have developed close friendships with those meeting professionals who put in long hours to ensure that events kick butt. Meeting organizers have amazing work ethics and at the same time know how to have fun!!!
(In March of 2011 I wrote a blog post about thanking organizers at events. This post was edited an appears in my book "The ABC's of Conferences". Meeting organizers often comment to about how this article makes them laugh, because of my joking about their shock at being thanked).
The meetings industry is going through a lot of changes, but the need for people to come together to share ideas will never go away. The future is bright for meetings and I am confident that it is a great time to be a speaker, too. It can be competitive (seems everyone these days wants to speak) and audiences are demanding speakers who engage them in new ways (not just dump information) -- but there is also an exciting vibe spreading around the whole meetings world.
I look forward to finding ways to grow my business and continue to serve the industry.
What are ways you have seen speakers go beyond the "norm" and be more than a vendor?
Have A Great Day.