Creating Best-in-Class B2B Breakout Sessions
Many B2B marketers focus too much energy on their event’s keynote and not enough on their B2B breakout sessions. Make no mistake—your breakout sessions and speakers are the circulatory system of your developer’s conferences, partner meetings, and internal events. The quality of your breakouts can literally make, or break, the experience.
Five Tips for Creating Great B2B Breakout Sessions
There are two ways to program B2B event breakouts: Pick the topic first and find a speaker or choose a presenter and then select a suitable topic. Experts agree that planning the topic first tends to make it easier to shape a session that will meet attendees’ needs, as your event team can be highly specific about the deliverables required for a successful session to potential speakers. If they agree to speak, it’s on your terms.
Stay in Touch
Once the speaker and topic are selected, you’ll need to thoroughly prepare them for their sessions. Check in every few weeks leading up to the conference to get a status report on the progress of presentations, prepare them for technical requirements and respond to questions. Also, encourage them to post information about your event on their social channels. Bottom line: Constant contact ensures everybody is on the same page and limited last-minute changes or surprises for both sides.
Events that require speakers to chat several times before the event with planners or managers are leaning on technology. These days, most events leverage content management tools to set timelines for the process. Others provide speaker portal logins that give access to templates, forms and webinar briefings. Events looking to pre-review speaker content in advance use a preview and shared-screen module. And finally, conferences and meetings implementing second screen platforms typically require speakers to upload content to a site in advance and then present on house laptops.
Many events offer speakers access to on-site rehearsal rooms, complete with production staff, where they can prepare before the session. Others offer lounges with coffee, meeting space for them to prepare with copresenters, media rooms for interviews with the press, and so on.
Learn From It
Attendees surveys are critical for understanding what worked and didn’t. But a growing number of events will also survey speakers post-event to understand how they think the session performed. Every bit of data secured today can help create a better breakout tomorrow.
As content becomes even more critical to B2B events, marketers will continue to put an even greater value on breakout sessions. Focus on early outreach to speakers and constant contact—and the rest will fall into place.
Posted by Sally Maturana | Request as a Speaker
Dog lady of the Lake. I'm down to standup paddleboard whenever. Driven to create & eat food. Almost always interested. VP Events @SparksMarketing