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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  September 29, 2015

What Associations Want From Speakers

Earlier this month, we explored meeting budgets and why speakers are getting short shrift. Let’s close out the month by looking at the growth end of association meetings — luring the new (and elusive) 500-lb gorilla, also known as Millennials.

Why do Millennials matter? Almost half of associations report steady or declining membership in 2012 (most recent stats in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Millennial Research Review). Conventional wisdom gives these groups five years, tops, to get these folks involved or perish.

Last month’s Meetings and Conventions article was chock full of ideas. Here are the ideas that will impact speaker selection the most:

  • From a content standpoint, this group wants more industry trends and sessions on personal development and job performance topics. Slackers, they are not.
  • One popular idea is to create a special event just for them. The younger folks will not influence all decisions; they make all decisions. Including speaker selection. My take: the old, tried and true pitches are not going to work on them. Proceed with caution.
  • Access is everything. These folks love to connect, so be prepared to engage before, during, and after the speech. Yes, we all know that and…it’s more important than the session itself now.

 

Many thought leaders use associations to get their perspective known and to influence their marketplace. The next five years will be make-or-break here, so be prepared for a lot of new initiatives and requests.

 

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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.