Julia Rutherford Silvers, CSEP

Certified Special Events Professional

Event Management Authority

Like angels and elephants dancing on the head of a pin, our dreams and responsibilities may have no limits, but must be balanced according to the music of the moment.









Integration Example — Speaker Selection

16 August 2007



Integration, a Core Value of the EMBOK framework, reflects the critical need to coordinate, synchronize and merge the variety and multitude of interactions, dependencies and interconnected elements included in an event project to ensure decisions incorporate all the factors influencing and influenced by those choices.


When you view the scope of the functional areas of the EMBOK’s knowledge domains, as shown below, which illustrate the full scope of the responsibilities assigned to event organizers, it becomes clear that one item, one decision, or one element will be shaped by and will have an impact on every other aspect of the event project.



Let’s look at one element: selecting a speaker for a conference. This function would be under Content Development (or Content Management) within the Design domain.

Factors regarding this one element will interact with every other domain’s functional areas and decisions made about this speaker must be integrated throughout the scope of functional areas. For example, the chart below illustrates some of the questions and issues that must be considered for this single facet of the event project.


Keep in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive, nor does it take into account the fact that there are typically numerous speakers selected for even a small conference, and perhaps hundreds for a sizable convention. Also remember that when you answer any one of these questions, that answer must then be considered in the context of every other functional area.



·   What is the speaker’s fee or the honoraria to be paid? How and when will that payment be handled?

·   If no fee or honoraria, is there any other form of compensation for which the variable costs need to be included in the budget?

·   Will we be paying for the speaker’s airfare?

·   Will we be buying the ticket or reimbursing the speaker for it?

·   Are there contractual specifications for or limits on what fare we will pay for (economy, business class, first class)?

·   Will we be paying for the speaker’s hotel accommodations?

·   Are there incidentals (meals, ground transportation, etc.) that we will or will not reimburse?

·   Will speaker thank you gifts need to be purchased?

Human Resources

·   Who is responsible for or has the authority to conduct speaker selection?

·   Who will serve as the pre-event liaison for the speakers?

·   Who will serve as the on-site liaison for the speakers?

·   Do we need someone to meet the speaker at the airport?

·   Do we need an escort for the speaker to the site and / or on site?

·   Who will give the introduction for the speaker’s session?


·   How will we collect session proposals or abstracts?

·   How will we handle correspondence with the speaker, e.g. session acceptance / denial, invitations, confirmations, thank you letters, etc.?

·   What forms will we need the speaker to fill out, e.g. AV requests forms, room set-up requests, session taping approvals, etc.?


·   What types of speaker solicitation documents will we use, e.g. call for papers, call for abstracts, session proposal forms, etc.?

·   What specifications need to be included in solicitation materials, e.g. acceptable / suggested topics, session deliverables, target audience or content track, etc.?

·   What equipment or services will be need to be ordered for this speaker’s presentation, e.g. projection equipment, audience response systems, staging, captioning services, etc.?

·   How will we handle on-site changes and other requests?


·   Are there any controversial issues surrounding this speaker that might cause problems in connection with his/her appearance, e.g. opposition, potential protests, political affiliations, etc.?

·   Are there strategic economic or political alliances that may be developed or enhanced by selecting this speaker?

·   How will the performance of this speaker and the value of his/her appearance be evaluated? How will this be used in communications with various stakeholders or stakeholder groups?


·   How will the speakers selected be incorporated into database systems, e.g. registration, badge processing, membership, etc.?

·   Will we be using an abstract management system for online submissions, speaker communications, PowerPoint and handout collection, etc.?


·   When do we need abstracts or session proposals submitted?

·   By when do sessions and speakers need to be selected and confirmed?

·   How and when will we schedule sessions and presentations, e.g. time slots, tracks, keynotes, etc.?

·   How long will sessions be, e.g. one hour, 90 minutes, half-day, etc.? How long will this speaker’s presentation be?

·   How will we handle scheduling for speakers providing numerous different or repeat sessions?



·   Has a needs assessment identified this topic or this speaker as suitable or desirable?

·   Has this topic been identified as necessary to meet educational requirements?

·   In what way is this speaker qualified to deliver this content?

·   What format will be used for this topic, e.g. keynote speech, facilitated interactive presentation, workshop, etc.?

·   How will we ensure speaker will deliver valuable content without blatant commercials for his/her products or services?


·   Will the speaker need a specific rehearsal time or period?

·   Will the speaker need a special room where he/she can organize or prepare for his/her presentation?

·   Will the speaker be expected to be part of or involved in any ancillary activities, e.g. golf tournament, exhibits, receptions, book signings, etc.?

·   Does the speaker need any coaching regarding presentation skills?


·   What type of seating configuration does the speaker desire / require, e.g. theater style, classroom, round table, etc.?

·   Does the speaker need special equipment, décor, or supplies procured and/or delivered?

·   Will the presentation include audience participation, and, if so, what will that require, e.g. steps onto stage, special aisles, etc.?

Food & Beverage

·   Will speaker be invited to or included in some / all meal functions for the conference?

·   Does the speaker have any dietary requirements?

·   Will exclusive water stations / bottled water be provided for speakers?

·   Will there be refreshments provided in a speaker ready room?


·   Will the speaker be providing a PowerPoint and/or video presentation?

·   Does the room need special lighting for his/her presentation, e.g. darkened room, spotlighting, etc.?

·   What type of microphone(s) will be required, e.g. lectern, hand held, wireless, standing, etc.?

·   Will the speaker be using or demonstrating any special or theatrical effects, e.g. pyrotechnics, fog effects, sound effects, etc.?


·   Where in the program agenda does this speaker appear, e.g. day, time slot, track, etc.?

·   Are there any scheduling conflicts that will affect attendance at this speaker’s presentation?

·   Is this session required for specific credits or certificates, and, if so does this session meet educational requirements, e.g. duration, content level, etc.?

·   Can this session accommodate anticipated attendance, e.g. room capacity, repetition within agenda, etc.?


·   Is there linkage between this presentation and the theme of the conference?

·   Will conference branding need to be included on handouts and/or PowerPoint presentations?

·   Has speaker been advised of any cultural or corporate customs on what must be avoided or incorporated into his/her presentation, e.g. attire, jargon, current events, gestures, etc.?


Marketing Plan

·   Is this speaker appropriate for or affiliated with the conference’s target market?

·   Does this speaker offer an entry into specific niche markets that could be exploited, e.g. track categories, exhibitors, etc.?

·   Has this speaker presented at previous conferences, and, if so, what were the satisfaction scores from previous evaluations?

·   Should this speaker be specifically highlighted in promotional activities?


·   What materials are needed from the speaker, e.g. handouts, PowerPoint presentation, etc.?

·   Will the speaker be providing additional handouts or amenities only at the session, e.g. checklists, workbooks, samples, etc., that need to be approved and/or promoted?

·   How will speaker be promoted in the program book, e.g. bio, photo, session description, etc.?

·   Will speaker presentations and/or handouts be provided to attendees in a handbook, CD, and/or on the web?


·   Will the speaker be allowed to sell own books or other products after his/her session?

·   Will audiotapes of the sessions be created for sale to attendees?

·   Will the speaker be asked to provide items for conference amenities or prizes, e.g. books, discount coupons, etc.?

·   Will speaker be given logo-imprinted items as thank you gift or in-room amenity?


·   How, where, and when will speaker solicitation activities be conducted?

·   What materials do we need the speaker to provide for promotional activities, e.g. photo, bio, session description (including key words and/or deliverables), etc.?

·   In what format do we need these materials, e.g. digital photo and resolution, word count limits on bio and session description, minimum of three session deliverables, etc.?

·   Where will we include these materials, e.g. advance program, web site, blast e-mail and print advertisements, etc.?

·   Will speaker be offered personalized promotional materials for his/her own marketing activities or cross promotions?

Public Relations

·   Will speaker be suitable and available for interviews with the media?

·   Is speaker able to provide articles that may be submitted to industry publications in conjunction with the conference?

·   Are position statements and background information prepared for any controversial issues the speaker or his/her appearance may incite?


·   Will attendance at this speaker’s presentation require an additional charge or ticket?

·   Will speaker’s books and/or products be made available for sale by the conference before, during, and/or after the conference?

·   Will speaker allow the sale of audiotapes or videotapes of his/her presentation, and, if so, will there be any commission on sales paid to the speaker?


·   Will this speaker’s appearance or presentation be suitable for packaging as a sponsorship?

·   Will this speaker’s appearance or presentation jeopardize any existing or potential sponsorship agreements?

·   Will the speaker be expected to make any special appearances or accommodations in conjunction with a sponsorship, e.g. hospitality functions, session introductions by sponsor, recognition of sponsor in presentation, etc.?



·   Will attendees need to pre-register for this specific session in order to manage capacity limitations and/or minimums?

·   How will access to presentation be controlled, e.g. name badge, ticket, etc.?

·   How will CEU or other continuing education credits be tracked and reported?

·   Will expected or expressed popularity of this speaker or topic suggest repetition or expansion of this session or other crowd management strategies?


·   Has speaker been provided with contact name and numbers in case of travel problems or appearance cancellation?

·   Has speaker provided his/her contact information for conference updates and in case of program changes or cancellation?

·   When and with whom should speakers check-in to ensure their timely arrival?

·   Has speaker provided on site contact numbers, e.g. cell phone, hotel number, etc.?


·   Does speaker need ground transportation provided?

·   If not, will speakers be provided with a designated parking area, or will parking fees be reimbursed?

·   Will this presentation generate any dangerous or hazardous waste, e.g. medical waste, chemicals, fire hazards, etc.?

·   Does this presentation or demonstration require any special utility hook-ups or services, e.g. Internet access, water, machinery, etc.?


·   Does this presentation have extensive or unusual move-in / move-out requirements, e.g. length of set-up time, special displays, expansive AV requirements, etc.?

·   Does this presentation or session have any special machinery or equipment requirements, e.g. vehicles or apparatus, poster boards, waste containers, etc.?

·   Will speaker be charged for special room set-ups or services?


·   Are speakers given a complimentary registration package to the conference?

·   Will there be a separate registration desk for speakers?

·   Are speaker credentials (badges) different from other attendees, and, if so, how?

·   What instructions need to be provided to the speaker, in what form, and when?

·   Is the speaker bringing a guest or assistant who needs admittance credentials?


·   In what room (location) will this session be held?

·   Will this session restrict use of the meeting room or adjacent areas, e.g. room clearing and cleaning, noise levels, pedestrian traffic limits, etc.?

·   Will speaker have an exhibit booth in the trade show?

·   If a speaker ready room or green room is to be provided, where will it be?

·   Will this speaker be housed in the headquarters hotel?


·   What staging will this presentation require, e.g. stage, platforms, display tables, lectern, etc.?

·   What AV equipment is required and will this speaker need technical assistance before the presentation?

·   Will technicians be required to operate any equipment during this presentation?

·   How will the speaker be advised regarding wireless microphone usage, e.g. turning it off during private conversations or when in the toilet?

·   What attendance tracking devices will be used and when, e.g. bar code scanners, RFID readers, etc.?



·   How will we verify speakers are not using copyrighted materials other than their own?

·   What permissions do we need from the speakers to publish their copyrighted material?

·   Does this session include proprietary material that requires prohibition of recording by attendees?

·   What devices or services will be required to ensure this presentation is ADA compliant, e.g. assisted listening devices, captioning, sign language interpreters, etc.?

·   Does this presentation require any special permits, e.g. pyrotechnics, imported flowers, food preparation, etc.?


·   How are speakers and session topics approved, e.g. peer review, program committee, etc.?

·   What do we do if complaints are received regarding a speaker’s presentation or behavior?

·   What contingency plans do we need for speaker no-show, equipment malfunctions, etc.?


·   Does this speaker have any medical conditions that we need to be prepared for?

·   Will the speaker be asked to take any role in emergency management, e.g. exit location announcements, attendee sign-in manifest, etc.?

·   How will speaker be advised of the communication protocols in case of a crisis, e.g. calling security to report incidents, referring all media inquiries to official spokesperson, etc.?


·   Will the room capacity for this session accommodate the likely attendance?

·   If demand exceeds capacity, how will we control access and accommodate those turned away?

·   Will any equipment or activities in this session block any exits?

·   Will any potentially hazardous materials, supplies, or equipment be used in this session, and, if so, how will these be controlled?

·   Will any participatory activities be conducted in this session that could cause injury or illness?


·   Is this speaker’s participation in the conference covered in our current insurance policies?

·   Is loss of or damage to this speaker’s equipment covered under our current policies?

·   Does this presentation require any special liability coverage?

·   Does this session require waivers of indemnity signed by participants?


·   Will we have speakers sign a contract regarding their appearance at the conference, and, if so, what will it need to include?

·   What consent approvals will we need in order to record (audio and/or video) the speaker’s session(s) and make these available for sale or download?

·   What consent approvals (implicit or explicit) do we need in order to photograph the speaker and/or audience for print or electronic promotional materials and publications?

·   Are there any disclaimers needed in conjunction with this speaker or his/her presentation?


·   Will security personnel be required to control access to this session?

·   Will security personnel be required to guard any equipment or materials used in this session?

·   Will security personnel be required to protect the safety and welfare of this speaker?

·   Will this speaker be providing his/her own personal protection personnel, e.g. Secret Service, bodyguards, etc.?

·   Will this speaker’s appearance involve any special security protocols, e.g. canine room sweep, bag check and walk-through magnetometer, identification and/or background checks, etc.?

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