Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Best Topics For Your Next Event

Need help in eliminating the preverbal topic dilemma? Read on...

I have spent many years in the "event" industry.  How you ask?  Initially as an event coordinator. My largest was a 5,000 person event at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago. I've also helped my sister cater events when she owned her restaurant, and I've sang at many a wedding...do those count?

The majority of my experience in the event industry has been as "the speaker" -- either as a keynoter, break-out presenter or on-site trainer / company event.

In the work that I do, I have several types of clients that typcially come in the following forms:
a. HR professionals or company leaders who book me to do onsite seminars or speak at their company event.
b. Meeting planners who are filling a conference agenda for a client / event.
c. Speaker bureau representatives
d. Event planning boards -- a group of colleagues designated to plan an event and select speakers.

Here's what I know -- no matter who is on that list, everyone has a lot on their plate -- a lot goes into planning any event. Additionally all, I believe, are conscientious about spending either their company's money or their client's.

I also know that in the initial planning (and here is where a lot of anguish and stress resides) it is not uncommon for this question to be posed, "Who should we book and what topics should we consider."  Planners and attendees want a great event experience with as much value as possible.  Speakers and topics have a lot to do with that. (Nothing is worse than going to a conference and having a bad speaker and/or not so relevant topic.)

So the purpose of this post is to offer some advice and resources regarding topics. If a planner is considering anything related to professional development, one of the best approaches for sourcing topics is considering business trends and how they impact workforce readiness.  Included in workforce readiness is what skills are needed for the success of a company and the career success of each employee.

I've had the privilege of attending the Chief Learning Officers breakfast in Atlanta for the past 2 years and have heard much discussion on trends and needs from a company's perspective. One of the sponsors -- the University of Phoenix provides ongoing research regarding relevant skill needs now and into the future.  I suggest that when considering topics, this is a great resource for choosing relevant content.

Here is a link to the executive summary provided at one of the events -- a study entitled Future Work Skills - 2020 Executive Summary. Enlarge the picture above and you'll get a what I consider to be a skills map.  Using this resource will help in the following ways:
> help in sourcing speakers with specialties in suggested areas
> help you feel more confident that you're making the best value choice
> help in making a credible case to other key decision-makers.

Another good trends resource is the Herman Trends Report - to which you can subscribe. Here is the website.  click here

Both of these resources provided above are bias free as it relates to meeting planning and can be of considerable value in your planning toolkit.
________________________________________________________________________________
JoAnn Corley is the Founder, CEO of The Human Sphere, a holistic talent management consultancy, which help individuals and companies increase revenue via best hire - best fit, and relevant skill development. She also speaks throughout North America and is a content contributor to various media outlets. She was recently named to the top 100 Most Social HR experts - Huffington Post.

To explore booking JoAnn for your next event or employee training initiative - click here for topic considerations | Twitter: @joanncorley |  Facebook  |  Google+  |  LinkedIn