Think about the last conference you went to. It may have been your idea to attend, or maybe your boss asked you to go. Whoever made the final decision, what influenced the choice to attend?
For most of us, the answer doesn’t lie in the hotel, the venue, or the food.
It’s the sessions and the speakers. We attend conferences and events because we’re interested in the topics they cover and the speakers who are headlining. After all, it’s getting that next promotion, climbing the corporate ladder, or better serving your industry that motivates us.
The same is true of your association members. They attend your association’s events because they’re interested in the people presenting and the subjects your sessions are covering. They want to learn and improve their skillsets – enjoying a beautiful destination and sumptuous meals are just bonuses.
Since your members are interested in your speakers and what they’ll be talking about at your event, speaker management is one of the most important aspects of event planning. Your call for proposals, speaker selection, and speaker registration processes must go smoothly or your event’s quality will suffer.
That makes an efficient speaker management process crucial for your association. In the past you only had two choices, neither of which were very good.
- You could handle session and speaker management manually using excel spreadsheets and one-off emails.
- You could purchase a speaker management software platform.
You can guess the challenges of trying to keep track of speaker submissions, selecting and slotting sessions, and communicating with presenters manually. However, a standalone speaker management system has its issues too. It introduces integrations and data transfer problems, putting more pressure on everyone using the system.
Increasingly, association and meeting planning professionals are using the speaker management system built into their membership software.
Many all-in-one AMS (association management software) systems have speaker management built right in to the event module, making the entire speaker management process easier for association staff and their expert presenters.
There are seven key benefits that most associations see when they make the switch to their AMS software’s speaker management system.
7 Advantages of Having Speaker Management in Your AMS Software
Advantage #1) Less Training
When speaker management is built into your membership software you eliminate training on a separate technology system. There’s no new set of tools for your staff to learn. Instead, speakers and sessions are managed directly through your AMS software, which employees are already familiar with.
Advantage #2) Automatic Emails
All-in-one AMS software typically has an email system included, so you can set up automatic emails to communicate with your speakers. This could include notifications about session submission, approval, denial, or a hold status.
The best membership management software will even allow you to see what emails have been sent to each of your speakers and when they were sent. Use those records to troubleshoot any communication problems that come up.
Advantage #3) Seamless Status Updates
Having speaker management included in your AMS platform doesn’t just make event planning easier on staff, it also makes the process easier for speakers. This is usually because AMS software runs the entire call for proposal process through your member portal, which most speakers are already familiar with.
Speakers already know the toolset and they can see the session abstracts they’ve submitted and their approval status right on their member profile. There’s no hunting for information or frustration from trying to navigate a new system.
Advantage #4) Streamlined Speaker Experience
Similar to status updates, a streamlined speaker experience is part of having all your event tools in one system. With speaker management built into your AMS platform, speakers only need to log in to one system to take care of all their responsibilities. That includes viewing event information, submitting a session, and viewing its status. Often, speakers will also be able to see what track their session is in as well as room assignments.
Advantage #5) Member and Committee Input
Once sessions have been submitted, you can allow your members, committees, and other groups within your membership database to vote on which sessions they’re interested in. This will not only get members involved in your association, it also helps you choose the best sessions that will bring in the most conference attendees.
Expert Tip: To build your association’s value proposition, consider making voting exclusive. Allow only paying members or those with higher membership tiers to vote on which speakers they’re interested in. It’s a great perk for committees or your most committed members and may motivate your other members to upgrade.
Advantage #6) Smoother Speaker Registration
Perhaps the meatiest of the benefits, using your AMS software’s built-in speaker management system will make speaker registration smoother. All your speakers’ information is already in the system, so speakers will be recognized immediately when they go to register.
Any time your membership software’s registration system recognizes a speaker, it will change the registration form to include more relevant questions. These questions, known as smart content, are shown only to your speakers to help you get essential information without inconveniencing normal conference registrants. For instance, common smart content might include questions about your speakers’ audio-visual needs in the presentation room.
You can also set up automatic discount codes that vary based on speaker type. Your keynote speakers may be given free registration while breakout session leaders receive a 50% discount, for example.
Advantage #7) Fewer Integrations
With all your event planning tools in a single system, data doesn’t need to be transferred from standalone event software to your AMS platform. There’s no need to export or upload speaker lists from your event engine your membership database for registration purposes or vice versa.
That also means there are fewer errors from outdated information or speaker lists that haven’t been updated, which helps your staff. They’ll save time and avoid much of the data scrubbing that comes with integrations and manual data transfer.
AMS software with built-in speaker management provides a smoother employee and speaker experience. It reduces the standard pains of standalone systems like integrations, data transfer, and training while letting speakers quickly and easily view their proposal status and register for the event after approval.
To see an AMS platform's built-in speaker management system in action, schedule your demo of MemberCloud here.
With all-in-one membership management software (like MemberCloud) your association can even take advantage of extra tools like voting to create perks for members or increase the success of your event. Consider voting, exclusive input, and single-system event planning as just a few more ways to get members involved and ensure that your event is as successful as possible.