Editor in Chief
10 PCMA CONVENE NOVEMBER 2015 PCMACONVENE.ORG
How can you tell the
one trait, in particular, seems crucial:
That’s according to
of people from all
walks of life to test
and which just
wrapped up this year.
According to a BBC
report about the
deal better with
“tend to be able to
see problems from
all sides.” When
forecasting, they are
able “to overcome
their preconceptions in the light
of new evidence.”
Something to keep
in mind as you read
over the results of
this year’s Meetings
More than 30 years ago, I had my first experience booking a speaker. I was an editor at Random House, and working on two books about a new kind of psychology — one by
the “guru” of this new self-realization
movement, the other by a psychologist
who used its principles in his practice.
My boss thought the guru author
would be the perfect speaker for our
upcoming 1,000-attendee sales meeting. Having worked with both of them,
I thought the psychologist would be
better. Being young and inexperienced,
I didn’t press my case hard enough, and
my boss won out. So we asked the guru
to speak to our salespeople, thinking
that having him trace his path from
high-school dropout to enlightenment
would inspire them.
I don’t recall any of what he said
when he took the stage. But what
remains burned in my memory is that
his philosophical ramblings were indecipherable to the audience — and that his
failure as a speaker was also my failure.
Writing about the meetings industry,
I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to
pull off a successful face-to-face event.
But thanks to that experience, I’ve
always had the speaker part down cold.
I know firsthand that they can make or
break your event, and whether or not
you’re responsible for selecting them,
how they perform reflects on you.
That reality hasn’t changed in the
past few decades, but what about the
ways in which speakers engage with
attendees on and off the stage? We
explored this topic in a recent online
survey, and share the results in this
issue’s cover story and CMP Series
article (p. 38), which is also laced with
interviews with speakers, speaker-bureau executives, and planners.
One recent development is that
more than half of our planner respondents said they’re asking their speakers
to participate in pre-event marketing
videos and print and online interviews.
The Future of Story Telling conference
— an invitation-only, two-day gathering
of 500 technology, media, and communications visionaries from around
the world that was held in New York
City last month — takes that one step
further. In the months leading up to
the conference, the organizer, Melcher
Media, paired its 25 speakers with filmmakers to create five-minute preview
films, each focused on that speaker’s
topic. Attendees received links to the
videos and ranked their favorites, which
were used by Melcher Media to match
them to small-group roundtable discussion sessions with the speaker.
“It’s a very engaged, lean-in, high-level, participatory conversation with
this leader,” Melcher Media Founder
Charles Melcher told BizBash (convn.
org/biz-story). “What’s beautiful is, we
knew people would love getting to know
the speakers — in fact, my big complaint
about most conferences is I really
don’t get to meet the speakers — but
what we didn’t realize was how much
people would get to know each other.
We’ve gotten compliments that, unlike
at other summits, here the cool stuff
doesn’t just happen between the sessions out in the hall; it actually happens
during the session. And then the connections made there continue.” .
Where the ‘Cool Stuff’ Happens
Speakers today need to connect with their
audience on many levels.