Selecting Speakers for Your Conference

The speakers are the most important aspect of the success of your conference. You should issue a Call for Papers but you could also think about inviting keynote speakers in order to attract people to your conference.

It is vital that you select speakers who can hold the attention an audience with original and interesting content, presented in a professional manner.

Keynote Speakers

The right keynote speaker will help attract delegates and set the tone for your conference. Remember that as you have invited them that you will be covering their travel and accommodation costs.

Academic Conference Chair

You should have a chair for the conference to introduce speakers, help keep sessions on track, thank speakers, manage question sessions, and host panel discussions.

Open Call for Papers

Your Call for Papers should ask potential speakers to submit an Academic Conference Abstract. The Call for Papers should include a deadline, which might have to be extended if you do not receive enough submissions, as well as formal requirements for the abstract.

In the Call you should clearly outline the required topics in line with your conference theme and title. You should include a word limit and ask that they cover their research context, methodology and how they will present their project. In addition to the deadline, you should tell the applicants when you will confirm the accepted papers, the speakers and announce the programme.

You might want to ask for information about the technology which will be required to give the talk.

Once you have received an abstract you should acknowledge receipt and then move to the selection process.

Reviewing Papers and the Selection Process

Conference abstracts should still capture your interest immediately and make you want to read the paper. They should be well-written, interesting, and engaging. The better the abstract, the more likely the speaker will give a good talk.

Make sure that the abstract meets the requirements which you set out in the call for papers in terms of length etc. If the speaker has not met these requirements this is a warning sign about their abilities.

Confirming with Speakers

Once you have selected your speakers, you will need to confirm with them in writing as soon as possible, and ask for further information, if not covered in the call: principally technical and dietary requirements. If you wish to receive an electronic copy of the presentation prior to the conference, you should give them a deadline for this.

Briefing Speakers

You should provide all speakers with information on how to get to the venue, details of their accommodation and provide them with a programme or at the very least information on the running order of the day They should also be clear on what expenses you will cover and if any fees will be paid.

© Robert Buckmaster 2022