Influencing Panel and Speaker Decisions at Events

Think da Vinci

“Put a kid in a candy store and they will attempt to pluck all the colorful, sugar-coated, highly shiny objects in sight. When it comes to events, we are often like the kid in a candy store — looking at the shiny subjects.

Of course, intellectually we know nutrition comes from elsewhere, yet we want to snack on yummy celebrities and easy to talk about (and do, please) topics. We want the emotional blanket of rubbing shoulders with all the other cool kids who are in it for the point-scoring value. See and be seen.

I wrote what good event organizers know about the power of ideas more than a year ago in response to a then hot topic of sessions and dynamics at conferences. 

Mike Spear wrote a long post# with suggestions about an evergreen topic — that of diversity within the speaker roster. In examining the weird science of communications presentations, Spear, who I met at Mesh in Toronto in 2011, 

suggests 20 female speakers who specialize in “science communications” and who he believes, individually or collectively, can help conference organizers to achieve at least some of the above.

[I learned I was included via Judy Gombita on LinkedIn#]

He was in attendance when I took the stage with David Armano to address how do you (or can you) measure online influence — it was a fairly informal conversation and afterwards I shared the small deck I had built as a visual thought piece.

Spear says:

Whether it is a field of scientific endeavour, a corporate communications challenge or an attempt to communicate the position of a government or government department, a diverse talent pool will eventually do a better job than a single demographic.

Diversity for me is a broader concept — for example, differing viewpoints, experiences, cultural references, some of which Spear mentions as he lists the reasons for his recommendations.

In my years on the brand side and working at global organizations I dealt with regulatory issues, governance, making decisions in public companies, and communicating across different cultures. Yet during the same years I was rarely able to talk about the work we were doing. I can now. Time and additional experience also contribute to perspective.

We are fast approaching Social Media Week, New York, and I look forward to conversations that keep pace with the maturity and next level of opportunity in social interactions (and not just the media part.)