November 21, 2017
    Who makes the decision on meeting speakers? (Hint: Not a C-level officer)

    The chief officers are no longer the main decision-makers when it comes to selecting speakers at events, and big names don't necessarily mean more registrants.

    These are among the findings in The Speaker Report: The use of professional and industry speakers in the meetings market, produced by Velvet Chainsaw Consulting and Tagoras Inc. This second report builds on the first, which was released in 2011, and contains comprehensive, up-to-date information on how speakers fit into the educational landscape.

    The report is separated into two areas: professional and industry speakers, and covers aspects such as cost and compensation; finding and hiring; calls for proposals; and evaluations, among others.

    Among the key takeaways:

    - In 2011, the report found that only 13.5 percent of the time did the education or professional VP or director decide which professional speakers to hire. This number jumps to 22.7 percent in the new report. In 2011, C-level officers ranked first among decision-makers; in 2013, they drop to third, behind the board or a volunteer committee and the education VP.

    - Fewer than a third (28.3 percent) of 2013 respondents believe a “big name” speaker is very or extremely important for attracting registrants.

    - Respondents say the most senior member of an organization’s education or professional development function has the title of director (46.7 percent) or a manager (8.9 percent). Only a few organizations employ chief learning officers; many more list education as their primary mission but don’t have a top-ranking person involved with their high-level education strategy.

    Other key findings cover use of professional speakers and speakers bureaus; expectations of professionals speakers, proposal review; compensation of industry speakers, and more. Details:,


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