[ Back to newsletter ]
Last Issue's Dilemma:
How do I keep a no-show from ruining my show?
My company is scheduled to host a user conference this summer, and when I lined up a very well-known keynote speaker, I felt like I'd scored a coup. But then, I heard through the grapevine that this particular speaker has bailed out on some other events at the last minute. What can I do to keep this from happening to me? And if I can't prevent it, how can I be sure to get a last-minute replacement at the remote location where the event will be held?
-- Lexie, Meeting Planner
You don't have to bomb if you hire a dud
Lexie, it's unfortunate you didn't have the scoop on this speaker before you hired him or her. But in your business, you have to plan for numerous eventualities whenever you participate in an event. Look at this situation in the same way.
In this case, our readers suggest you:
- Have contacts in place.
- "Hire" more than one speaker.
- Cover all your bases.
Have contacts in place
S O C I A L M E D I A P O L L
We wonder if our readers are using social media either personally, professionally or both. Please take our two-minute poll; we will report the results in our next issue. Thanks.
What social media do you use? What does your company use?
Take our two-minute poll
Participating in an event away from your home location can make it harder for you to find a replacement if you need one. After all, you can't just thumb through the Yellow Pages and hope for the best. Accordingly, get to know some key people before the event, just in case you need them.
As an event planner explains:
"Even the most reliable speaker may have to cancel an appearance, due to illness or a family emergency. Consequently, play it safe, and maintain good, strong relations with speaker agencies in locations where events you participate in are held. With some luck, an agency may be able to contact someone nearby who can drive in, if necessary."
"Hire" more than one speaker
If you're not comfortable dealing with an out-of-town agency, find a replacement speaker on your own -- now.
An anonymous reader describes how you should proceed.
"Contract a backup speaker with the understanding he or she may be contacted on short notice. Calling an agency when you find out your speaker has missed the plane may be too late for anyone to do anything that would work well for you."
Cover all your bases
Since having an exceptional speaker is important for you, be sure your backup plan has more than one option. A reader details how she would handle this situation if she were in your shoes.
Kimberly Williamson, manager of marketing services with Aviall, a Boeing company, writes:
"I often use a contract to ensure the keynote speaker holds to his or her engagement. I also bring in stakeholders who are important to the speaker, so he or she is motivated to make the speech. Plus, I always have another strong speaker present and ready in case of a last-minute cancellation."
Lexie, right now, you might feel anxious about this speaker you've hired. But you may rest a little easier if you build relationships with local agencies near the event, find an appropriate stand-in for this speaker if needed and do everything you can to ensure that the speaker will honor his or her contract.