At the end of each conference that Financial Technologies Forum hosts, we collect evaluations that rate how well each of our speakers did throughout the day on a 1 to 5 scale, 5 being excelleing and 1 being poor, as well as how the attendees felt about the conference content. Following our 5th Annual OTC Derivatives Operations & Processing Conference this past Wednesday, I, as always, reviewed each of the evaluations that we collected. Overall, each of our speakers received great scores, however, there were a few responses that did not conform to most of the other attendees’ opinions.
For example, one speaker from our derivatives event received mostly scores of 4’s and 5’s (which is great!), but he also received a rating of 2 from an attendee (not so great). This made me think: What is it that makes a speaker great? What did that one attendee who scored our speaker at a 2 not like that for the most part all of our other attendees did like? What made this one speaker mediocre in the eyes of that single attendee? I feel that all great speakers possess certain qualities, so after reviewing all of our evaluations I decided to create a list of the top 3 qualities that a speaker should possess…
1) An outgoing personality – if a speaker is meek and mild mannered they are less likely to speak out during panel discussions, and instead let other co-panelists take the lead on questions. A speaker needs to be confident in what they have to say, and state their opinions with authority in order to come across as a credible source of information.
2) Knowledge/Expertise – This may seem like a given, but I cannot tell you how many speakers often agree to speak on a topic that they may not know that much about. Obviously, the more knowledge you have on a topic the more you are able to contribute to a discussion, and also the more you can teach the attendees something they may not have known before.
3) Experience – The more experience that a speaker has on the topic at hand, the more likely they will be able to give examples to the audience to relate to. Attendees often write on our evaluations how they wish they had heard more real-life examples from our speakers. Examples help transform an abstract idea or concept into an easily understandable practice for attendees.
Those are the qualities that we here at FTF feel that a speaker should possess in order to receive great feedback from conference attendees. What are some qualities you feel make a great speaker?