Recently I saw a speaker announce on Twitter that event organizers shouldn’t expect her to stay at an event past her speaking slot. Years ago I saw a speaker bragging and posting a selfie from his seat on a plane. He said he flew in this morning, an hour ago he was on stage, now he’s flying home.
Is that really something to brag about?
Sure, you were paid to speak, and unless it’s worked out beforehand, you weren’t paid to stick around and participate any further in the event. But why wouldn’t you? I’ve always felt my job as a speaker is to make the event a smashing success. It seems like common sense; The more successful the event is, the better it looks that I spoke there. And it leads to speaking referrals for future events, which any professional speaker will tell you is the lifeblood of their profession.
Years ago I was asked to speak at a tourism event. I’d never spoken at a tourism industry event at the time, and I will admit my plan was to leave as soon as I was finished. But the organizer asked me to please stay if I could, and I really liked her, so I decided to do so. I’m so glad I did, the event was incredibly interesting, the organizer was kind enough to make it known to attendees that I would be staying and she invited me to participate in Q&A sessions at the end of the event, which I happily did. All this led to a better event for the organizers, and several speaking referrals for me. I’ve gone on to speak at several tourism events since, and they are honestly my favorite industry events to present at.
The reality is, it will be a while before in-person conferences are a regular occurrence again. I’m hopeful we will start to see some industry events return in late Spring/Early Summer of 2021, with many more coming back by Fall of 2021. Speakers need to think about how they can add as much value as possible to every event they present for. I always tell organizers when I agree to present at their event that I have just become their promotional partner. That it’s my job to help the event become as successful as possible. I’ve even worked with many events to help bring on additional speakers that I trust to help make the event even better.
We all know to focus on the value we can create for our clients in 2020 and beyond. We need to show up, and we need to stay until the job is done. Leaving early and cutting corners is nothing to brag about.