In case you missed it, here’s a recap of the PSASA Virtual Chapter meeting held via Zoom on 11 August 2020.

After an introduction by the uber competent Usha Maharaj of the Chapter’s Leadership Committee and a brief networking session, we got to the star of the show, Projeni Pather. Backed by a baggable track record and A+ credentials, she wowed us with her communication grace and gifted us with advice you won’t get outside of a tight circle like PSASA.

Projeni Pather is the Managing Director of Exposure Marketing and has a wealth of experience in the exhibition and event industry. In 2004 she founded her own marketing company, which organises exhibitions, conferences, and events nationally. She currently serves as Chairperson of AAXO, the Association of African Exhibition Organisers, and Spokesperson for the South African Events Council. Her success is driven by her confidence in the power of face to face events, her excellence in marketing and communication, and her charismatic leadership.

Her talk of two halves was firstly invaluable advice to us on how we engage the events industry and secondly, useful insight into how the Events Council of SA is lobbying for us and the industry.

Projeni’s key message to speakers was:
“every cent we spend at a conference needs to deliver a Return on Investment (ROI), and the speaker we choose needs to be able to deliver that ROI for us”. When we are delivering at a conference, the content is important, but it is not just about the content.

ROI is the key objective of all meeting planners and event organisers. If, as speakers, we can help the organisers deliver on this, then we become an asset to them, and one they will keep coming back to, again and again. When we can add additional information and advice that can help them to succeed, we take it to the next level.

We need to also understand what the company’s objectives are so that we can customize our content, the delegate learning experience and our overall offering.

As organisers, they want Speakers to:
• Engage with the audience, and engage with the organisers too
• Inspire all stakeholders, and
• Connect on a different level to create impact

HOW SPEAKERS CAN EXTEND THEIR REACH TO COLLABORATE WITH EVENT PLANNERS AND ORGANISERS:

Collaborate
– understand the organisation’s goals and align your content
– make the audience experience your content and show them how they can practically action it back at work
– make all stakeholders feel important and part of this winning team

Client Service
– Be responsive to their needs, timing, venue, challenges, etc
– Respect their finances and the money they are paying you
– Exceed the expectations they set out for you
– Deliver value and resolve their concerns
– No surprises!

Audience Engagement
– Connect your message to the audience personally
– Don’t just give them good content, give them practical strategies
– Give them tools to utilise the content you gave them

WHY CONFERENCE PLANNERS NEED THE RIGHT SPEAKER
– To help roll out and support new initiatives
– To protect their reputation
– To get stakeholders buy-in
– To pave the way for change

HOW TO WORK WITH A CONFERENCE PLANNER
– Arrange pre-event meetings in which you can ask focused questions to understand their needs, their client’s needs, presenting environment, etc
– Find out how stakeholders want delegates to feel and behave after the talk
– Asking strategic questions before the talk enables you to give fresh, relevant and valuable insight to the delegates through customised presentations

TIPS FOR AFTER YOUR TALK
– Follow up and follow-through
– After giving delegates tools and techniques to apply your content, send additional content, newsletters, follow-up webinars post-event.

PRO-TIP : EVENT ORGANISERS AVOID SPEAKERS WHO:
– See the event as a single transaction
– Aren’t seriously interested in the overall goals of the event
– Don’t understand the company, it’s objectives or the audience
– Are more keen on what they receive than the value they are providing in return

PRO-TIP : EVENT ORGANISERS LOVE SPEAKERS WHO:
– Are committed business consultants
– Do everything possible to make the engagement and conference a success
– Share their perspective and business savvy to help solve problems
– Leave leaders with a refined perspective to efficiently convey change.
– Are an asset to their team!

ROLE OF THE SA EVENTS COUNCIL

The second half of the meeting was packed with valuable insight on how the council is uniting an industry that was historically quite fragmented, and using the voice of this unified body to lobby government to open the events industry up earlier than planned. Primarily to get the businesses in the industry back up and running, and to add the value to the industries customers that they have come to expect and need.

The vision of their role was inspiring. The 8 pillars are all about driving value to members of the industry, uplifting and educating young talent and the industry as a whole, and increasing the professionalism of the events industry as a whole. Their pilot event to showcase the new thinking and virtual conferencing was the “Light SA Red” campaign – #LightSARed.

The PSASA and the SA Events Council are forging relationships and supporting each other to re-open and revitalize this important sector of the economy. In fact, Projeni Pather was invited as a guest speaker through the relationships and engagements spearheaded by the PSASA’s Deputy President, Charlotte Kemp. Click here to find out more: PSASA joins the SA Events Council.

“I certainly feel more secure about our industry’s short and long term future knowing Projeni has her hands on the wheel!”, Nick Denoon-Stevens.

Thank you Projeni for the priceless advice on how we can succeed in the events industry and for the role you are playing in securing our industry’s livelihood!

This blog post was written by Nick Denoon-Stevens. Nick helps executives increase profitability by helping their managers make better business decisions using business acumen simulations. Connect with Nick via LinkedIn or on his website: www.3mtraining.co.za.

Join an upcoming PSASA Virtual Chapter Meeting, held on the second Tuesday each month via Zoom – https://www.psasouthernafrica.co.za/chapters/