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In its hunt for more talent, Singapore's conference industry needs not just more staff but also more compelling speakers
In its hunt for more talent, Singapore's conference industry needs not just more staff but also more compelling speakers

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Singapore MICE Forum: The Great Reset also needs to apply to conference speakers

Talent is one of five critical factors impacting the Singapore exhibition and conference industry, but not just among organisers.

Industry players are gathering at Marina Bay Sands for three days, starting today, under the banner "The Great Reset", to discuss the five main issues confronting them: sustainability, technology, innovation, new business models and talent.

On that last point, if Singapore's MICE industry is to attract more trade shows, conferences and exhibitions my view is it needs to care as much about what happens on stage as behind the scenes.

There needs to be a "great reset" when it comes to guest speaker selection. Especially successful conferences with a long track record see the same faces keep showing up, year in year out.

More broadly, can Singapore attract large audiences when the speakers sometimes leave a lot to be desired? All too often, delegates scan the list of speakers and involuntarily make fast decisions about whether they are worth watching. And some of them just aren't.

There are the big names that attract a crowd, the international superstars. They are such good speakers they often get paid to speak. This puts event managers off, so they look for free speakers.

That's when they seek out the "founder/CEO" types who build their brands by appearing on panels hawking their ingenious business solutions and sounding all guru-like. Great speakers? Well… it's patchy.

Then there are the patrons, the ministers and the industry veterans who get invited not because they are great speakers but only because of who they are.

Finally, there are the corporate speakers, often from multinationals who are generally respected because of the high positions they hold, the high budgets they steward, and therefore the high attention they get from vendors in the conference hall.

To paraphrase Shakespeare, some speakers are invited because they are great, some pay to be invited, and some are too important to not be there and therefore have an invitation thrust upon them.

Wouldn't it be great to have fresh talent on stage?

Wouldn't it be great for that talent to be so good in public speaking they are certified, including in keeping hybrid audiences engaged?

Wouldn't it be great if event organisers could watch a preview of every new speaker, or even audition them for speaking slots?

Wouldn't it be great if these speakers were all subject matter experts at leading companies, who have no interest in selling from the stage.

And wouldn't it be great if they came for free?

Mark Laudi is a former CNBC television anchor, a Gallup-certified CliftonStrengths coach, and founder/CEO of ContactsBook.Media. In this article he aims to sounds all guru-like about how ContactsBook.Media addresses the last five questions with a dossier of more than 2,500 fresh subject matter experts across industries such as financial services, technology, logistics and pharmaceuticals, in Singapore and the region, almost all of whom speak for free. And it's free for event managers to register.

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Mark Laudi

Mark Laudi

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