There is confusion around the differences between the words keynote speaker, motivational speaker, plenary speaker, etc… What I have found is the meaning often depends on the meeting planner and the industry. Some see huge differences between these terms, while others use them interchangeably. But what is in a name? A plenary speaker by any other name should still make a big impact on your conference. The plenary speaker sets the tone for a great event.
My experience with the term “Plenary Speaker” is it used more often in technical organizations. While some think the person in this role is from the industry, I have seen it most often used to highlight the “Featured Speaker”. These groups are often not utilizing celebrities in this plenary speaker role, but instead giving this title to the main presenter who will set the tone and underlay the them for the whole event.
Events That Care About Networking
I have presented for years on the topic of human engagement and networking. The combination of my keynote “Connecting With People In a Gadget Crazy World“, presented in conjunction with my “Conference Catalyst” program, are when I am most often am assigned the title of “Plenary Speaker”. This happens most commonly with technical groups that are focused on enhancing how their event participants engage and network while at the conference. They see the role of plenary speaker as paramount to success.
A main reason people attend live events in every industry is for the “Networking Opportunities”, but once on site they often fail to engage in meaningful conversations. Too many attendees tend to hang around with co-workers and old friends, and miss the chance to have conversations with the amazing people around them. My presentation changes that. As the “Conference Catalyst” my message becomes tied to the theme of the conference and support a culture where people want to make connections.
When looking for someone to make the Plenary Speaker it is important that you are getting an engaging motivational speaker who will do more than speak and leave. Too many keynote speakers have the amazing skill of clearing security at the airport within thirty minutes of completing their speech. A real plenary speaker is weaved into the event. They stay and participate in the networking breaks, meals and social activities. (If not for the whole conference, at least for the day of their presentation). Plenary speakers are there to help connect the meeting goals to the people in the audience.
In my role as the “Conference Catalyst” I am the opening keynote speaker and then serve as the master of ceremonies / event emcee for the rest of the event. This allows the audience to take the message of connecting and keep it front and center the whole time.
Hire Thom Singer As Your Plenary Speaker
If you event needs a boost in the area of human connection and better networking, do not leave it to chance. Make it the stated objective for your conference. Let your participants know you have invested in their desire to make your event the best conference ever. Connect your meeting theme to connections, and have Thom Singer as your plenary speaker. In that role he will weave together your theme, desired outcomes, messages of others speakers and serve as an advocate for the audience.
Thom is a funny keynote speaker and professional event host. He is the host of the popular “Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do” podcast and the author of 12 books. Book him directly at ThomSinger.com or through your favorite speakers bureau.