Do you feel like you’re constantly chasing down speakers to get them to turn in their presentations for your annual meeting?

Due dates and speaker policy agreements seem to go out the window for some speakers, causing meeting planners and coordinators to obsessively call and email last-minute reminders. And you might be battling the fact that there is no consideration (honorarium) for your volunteer presenters.

If you follow the ASAE discussion listserv (open to ASAE members only), this topic recently ignited between association professionals.

Here are some of the tips they came up with.

6 Tips for Getting Speakers to Meet Collection Deadlines

  1. Request Speaker Presentations Before the Meeting: Push the deadline as close to the meeting as possible, but ensure speakers they will have time to make any last-minute changes closer to the meeting date if necessary.
  2. Reconsider your Deadline: Is your deadline for speaker presentations and papers reasonable? Does your call for presentations close 6-7 months before the conference? Having too early of a deadline increases the likelihood of speakers not hitting it. Remember, we’re a last-minute society. Plus, do your attendees really want to attend sessions where the content is a half year old?
  3. Send Out Multiple Reminder Emails/Posts: It’s a busy industry, and most people need reminders. Instead of bombarding speakers with emails a week before the deadline, try staggering your reminder emails three months, two months and one week ahead of time. Give them suggestions as to where they should be in the slide creation process. And if a speaker already turned in their presentation, don’t send them the standard, “Hey, this is a reminder to turn your presentation in. If you have, ignore this,” email message. Make your speakers feel special.
  4. Stay True to Speaker Policy and Deadlines: Once you’ve analyzed your speaker policy and you’re confident deadlines are reasonable, STICK TO IT! If your speaker agreement says those unable to make deadlines will not speak, make sure you follow through. If you don’t follow the speaker policy, speakers won’t, either.
  5. Emphasize Speaker Incentives for Submitting Presentations: Emphasize the importance of timeliness and how it benefits their reputation as professional speakers, the conference integrity and the attendee experience.
  6. Presentation Management System: Do you have an online speaker file collection system that allows you to properly manage multiple speakers and presentations? Your abstract and presentation management system should allow you to easily send personalized reminders to speakers who haven’t turned in their presentation materials. (You should also have a user-friendly collection system that makes it easy for speakers to submit their presentation.)

Do you have any tips for getting speakers to submit their conference presentations?