5 Types of Conference Speakers to Improve Your Next Event


Conference speakers are one of the focal points of your annual event. They provide insights, research and, most of all, value to your attendees. Speakers set the tone for the rest of the conference—if you invite a really great speaker, your attendees will be even more excited for the rest of the event.

One major challenge event professionals face is finding speakers who are unique and engaging. You want to think outside of the box for your event presenters and invite people who will provide an interesting perspective to start your conference.

Why are unique conference speakers so important?

Attendees don’t want to see the same presentations over and over. There are two major types of “obvious” speakers who present at conferences. The first are people who are prevalent and well-known in the industry—everyone knows who they are and have likely heard them speak at other industry conferences (or yours) in the past. The second are the tried-and-true speakers who seem to be at every conference, even if they aren’t directly related to your industry. Bringing in these types of people may make members rethink returning to your conference next year.

Instead, inviting unique speakers will engage your attendees. Interesting presentations help people retain more information. The best speakers will have people talking about the presentation long after the event, which helps boost your association’s reputation. Plus, nobody wants to miss out on a great keynote, so members will likely want to come to future events to experience it for themselves.

Here are five types of conference speakers who can help improve your event:

  • The Industry Outsider: Oftentimes, unrelated industries face similar challenges to yours but likely tackle them in different ways. Find a speaker from outside of your industry who can provide insights on how to solve the same problems in new ways. Both the speaker and their knowledge will be new to your members!
  • The Fresh Perspective: Similar to the tip above, people in other industries harness similar skills and can offer a fresh perspective. Invite a speaker from outside your industry who can share important skills and how to best develop them. For example, event planners could learn a new method of time management from nurses, who are experts at prioritizing.
  • The Skilled Pro: Sometimes conference speakers don’t think to speak about their skillsets because they use them every day and forget other people don’t have them. Have a speaker talk about a new skill that could benefit people in your industry.
  • The Creative Presenter: Sometimes it’s not what the speakers say, but how they say it that grabs attendees’ attention. Speakers that give their presentations in a fun and creative way can often help members retain more information and entertain them.
  • The Futurist: It’s important for your attendees to know about current events and what will affect them in the next few months. But, if a speaker has a keen eye for future trends and can give a more long-term perspective, attendees will likely be very interested.
  • BONUS! The Unexpected: Just like this unexpected sixth tip, invite someone your attendees would not expect to speak at your conference or who has a really interesting story or perspective. Including the unexpected will interest your attendees and keep things fresh.

If you invite engaging speakers to your conference, your attendees will be more likely to return year after year. Show your members you provide value by booking presenters with valuable insights and skills to share. Don’t let an “obvious” speaker set a boring tone for your event. Ask yourself, what feeling do we want our conference to give to attendees? Make sure to bring in speakers who are unique and will provide that feeling from the start.

What kinds of conference speakers do you like to invite to your events? Leave us a comment!

How to Measure Success of Mobile Event Apps

One of the greatest mistakes you can make when providing a mobile event app for your annual conference is waiting until the event is over to try and figure out if your app was successful or not.

Instead, prior to launching a mobile event app, you should take the time to consider what success will look like for your app. Start by reviewing the objective for your mobile event app and then determine how you can measure if your objective was met.

2 Ways to Measure Success of Mobile Event Apps

Here are two simple ways you can determine if your mobile event app objective was met:

  • Ask for Attendee Feedback.
    Include a survey for attendees to take in the app allowing them to share feedback on the functionality and usefulness of your mobile app.
  • Utilize Analytics.
    Track how many attendees download your mobile event app, the most viewed content, the number of visitors to the sponsor module and other important data.

Please note: It is important to talk to your mobile event app provider to understand what data will be available to you.

Using Analytics for Mobile Event Apps

If you collect data, be sure you think about how it can be used. For example, if you have a sponsor list in your app, you can use the data to help gain more sponsors in the future.



Also, if you know that speaker information was a frequently visited module, you can think about how to add or change the information to get the most value, encouraging attendees to check out other modules of the conference app.


The key to determining success is to have the data available to so you can make intelligent decisions on how to improve mobile event apps for upcoming conferences.

How are you measuring the success of your mobile event apps?



Help Your Conference Speakers Give a Killer Presentation

As someone who coordinates annual meetings or midyear conferences for your association, you understand that the value of your conference lies in your educational content. Attendees love conference learning journals, final programs, session handouts and, of course, speaker presentations.

But what happens when your keynote speaker plasters their entire presentation word-for-word on their poorly assembled PowerPoint and stands in one spot (heaven forbid, behind a podium) using their best Ben Stein voice? Most speakers are the elite professionals in their field, but let’s face it, they may not be the most engaging or the smoothest of talkers.

Donna Kastner, Director of Education & Engagement at Velvet Chainsaw Consulting, recently wrote a refreshing article: “5 Presentation Sins Committed by Conference Speakers.” She outlines some of the biggest mistakes speakers make at conferences and events–mistakes that can send attendees running for the door (or into a deep sleep).

What can you do to ensure presenters keep attendees engaged?

Presentation Tips for Your Conference Speakers

So, your call for abstracts has closed, you’ve reviewed the submissions in your online collection system and chosen the speakers for your annual conference. How about sending presenters some public speaking tips?

Times have changed, and public speaking is no longer a one-way objective lecture taking place behind a podium. Speaking at your association’s annual meeting is about two-way communication, engaging attendees with social gaming and fun presentation styles like PechaKucha. That is how attendees learn, retain and implement the content at your conference.

What are you doing to ensure your speakers aren’t committing Donna Kastner’s 5 deadly speaking sins?

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