by Tessie Barnett, Content Strategist, GigSalad
When it comes to coordinating schedules and maintaining good communication, no one has a tougher job than event planners. Even the most seasoned planners have experienced hiccups, and oftentimes these obstacles—like last minute cancellations—are outside of their control. However, what makes a professional event planner stand out is how they prepare and accommodate in such cases. We spoke to several event planners who regularly book guest speakers to find out how they deal with last minute cancellations. Here are four best practices to ensure a successful event!
The golden rule for choosing the perfect guest speaker is to do your research! There are many experts out there willing to share their knowledge, but you will want to find a professional who is versed in a topic that’s relevant to your event. Look at their online presence to learn about their professionalism and speaking experience. Do they clearly convey the message you are looking for? Can you view photos or videos of their prior speaking engagements? Most importantly, can you browse through verified reviews or read testimonials? Reading through reviews is an excellent way to learn how the speaker interacts and communicates with their past clients.
Maintain Exceptional Communication
Expert event planners stress the importance of communication within your team. An invested team member is one who will put in the time and energy required for a successful event. Those communication standards can also be applied to correspondence with a potential guest speaker. Poor communication is a big red flag, and being upfront about your expectations can help you avoid mishaps or confusion. If you are having trouble getting in touch with a guest speaker for booking questions, you’re more likely to have similar issues leading up to the event.
Seal the Deal With a Contract
Contracts or booking agreements are essential for event planners. Talk to your speaker about their cancellation policy to ensure you are protected and backup options are available. An ideal contract includes a 24-hour notice, a refundable deposit, backup speaker recommendations, and alternative activities for the attendees.
Have Your Backup Options Ready
Even with great preparation, event planners can find themselves without a speaker at the last minute. That’s why it’s important to always have a contingency plan in place. If there will be industry leaders attending the event, try putting together a panel session for them to answer a list of questions. Another option is to incorporate teambuilding activities that pertain to your event or topic. If you are looking for a replacement speaker, you can contact a speakers bureau, or browse websites like GigSalad to request quotes and availability from multiple speakers at once. Many speakers are eager to get more experience so last minute opportunities can be welcome!
Although a last minute speaker cancellation can be a nightmare for an event planner, it’s possible to turn the issue into an opportunity. With these four best practices, you can prepare yourself for any situation and rest assured that you will have a successful event!
Read how some Midwest planners have managed their last minute speaker cancellations in the upcoming Winter 2016 Issue of Midwest Meetings® magazine. Subscribe today www.midwestmeetings.com/subscription.html
GigSalad is the marketplace for booking bands, performers, speakers and services for events, parties, and productions of all types and sizes. Book something awesome with GigSalad.