For over a decade I booked speakers and workshops to come and make an impact, and to get people to think in different ways. Often when speakers come, it is only to provide a specific service, and then they are gone. Depending on who gave the keynote, attendees might talk about it for a while, or they might not.

In this day and age it’s important to be good stewards of our already limited fiscal resources. In fact, it’s not just money that’s becoming more limited, but time within people’s schedules. Making good use of everything is important. After all, keynote speakers have roughly 50 minutes to make an impact. But what if there were ways to utilize the speaker for more than just their keynote?

I used to think that when I called to book a speaker, they knew it was never going to be just a keynote. When planning a leadership conference, I asked a speaker to give the opening keynote, followed by an afternoon of breakout sessions. I’ve asked speakers to sit with leaders for a couple of hours over food to get to know them and the campus a little more. I’ve asked speakers to provide follow up questions that I can use with attendees to gauge their learning and assess the effectiveness of the program. But there’s one thing I always did – I asked.
So the next time you are on the hunt for a speaker, or an interactive workshop, here are some tips and tricks to add value to their visit:

Structure the speaker’s visit to have the most impact.

Most speakers will be traveling to get to you. This means they might arrive the night before and have some free time before they present. See if they can have additional meetings with any staff or leaders. This also helps the speaker get a sense of the environment before they take the stage.

Create your own learning outcomes.

Not only do speakers have specific learning outcomes for each of their keynotes, but they like to make sure they’re meeting your needs as well. Be sure to communicate with your speaker in advance and let them know your hopes for the visit. Some speakers will even go the extra mile and shift their presentations to include your needs.

Think of the speaker as one piece of a greater educational puzzle.

Often times speakers have great questions they pose to the audience. See if the speaker can do a follow up with some key leaders or attendees. Assess the program and be intentional with follow up conversations or additional programming. Consult with CAMPUSPEAK about bundling multiple events together such as an Interactive Workshop and a speaker to make a bigger impact.

What I’ve loved about being a customer of CAMPUSPEAK is when I’ve asked “would you be able to…”, and each time there’s excitement because we know there’s a commitment and an investment we are making to have an incredible impact of those in attendance. So what would you want to do for your community this coming Fall?


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