MYS Blog

Preparing Speakers for Show Success: Creating Exciting Session Experiences

To ensure your speaking session is memorable, thorough planning and preparation of your speakers is crucial. Josh Miely and Valerie DuBreuil, event industry experts, shared their insights and experiences from planning NAB events. Read on as they discuss how to incorporate both trade show elements and educational sessions for a successful event. 

Content written by: Madison Frye, Marketing Associate at Map Your Show. 


Table of Contents:

  1. Watch the Full Webinar: Conferencing Tips. Preparing Speakers for Show Success.
  2. What is NAB?
  1. What’s the Best Way to Test New Improvements at an Event?
  2. How to Best Select Speakers for a Show.
  3. What’s the Best Way to Communicate with Different Audiences at a Trade Show?
  4. What is the Most Important Aspect of Making a Conference Session Successful Onsite? 
    1. Insights to Give Speakers Before a Session.
  5. Conclusion.



Watch the Full Webinar:



What is NAB? 

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) plays a crucial role in propelling media and technology sectors forward. nab logo with blue ombre backgroundThe organization stands as a force in the realms of media, entertainment, and technology, hosting two flagship events annually. Las Vegas hosts NAB Show, the largest media entertainment technology show globally, every April, and the Javits Center hosts NAB Show New York in October. These events bring together industries from around the world, setting the stage for fostering innovation and collaboration in broadcasting. 


NAB's shows need careful planning as they bring together over 10 conferences, all at one centralized event. This includes many different badge requirements and preparation across multifunctional teams. Let’s dive further into their planning process, recommendations, and insights on making sessions exciting and preparing speakers for success. 



What’s the Best Way to Test New Improvements at an Event?  


Using event technology can offer new and exciting enhancements for event management teams and their audiences. A great way to test these enhancements before deploying them to a huge audience is through a "test show". This show is the first to see innovations and is an often-underutilized method to keep an audience engaged and eager for the next show. 

The NAB Show New York tests new ideas before they are launched globally at NAB Show in Las Vegas. This testing strategy benefits a smaller audience. These innovations can range from attendee-facing modules to partner and exhibitor-facing modules. While not all audiences may see what is going on behind the scenes, there is added excitement in being the first to experience technological enhancements. 


Josh Miely suggests that a smaller source of people provides morenab blog - feedback between two professionals accurate feedback that can be applied to other shows. "It's through this feedback that we've learned to scale back the number of modules we currently have within the show to avoid confusion among attendees," he adds. 


Valerie DuBreuil mentions their new process for deciding when to separate modules from one another: "We settled on using a separate module if they need their own call for speakers or if the partner needs their own backend access. By separating modules this way, we can better address their needs." For organizers who do not have a show they could use for testing, try utilizing surveys with an incentive or an event advisory council created from a diverse range of exhibitors.  


How to Best Select Speakers for a Show.


When you're in the process of selecting speakers for an upcoming conference, it can be quite overwhelming. However, there are certain tools available that can make this process easier. For instance, Map Your Show's Speaker Evaluation process is a great way to choose a set of industry experts who can become your review panel. Your show management team can create their own unique set of evaluation questions to help the panel gather all the information they need before deciding to either approve or deny an application. This module has flexibility and can offer multiple rounds of review. 


DuBreuil says, "I call it 'pretty math.' The Map Your Show Conference Management system helps highlight which session evaluators have ranked the highest and organizes them based on their unique topics. "This software really helps to make some of those crucial determinations." 


By taking advantage of the speaker portal provided by Map Your Show, NAB has benefited from some of the safeguards in place. For instance, speakers can submit their information through the portal and if something is missing, like a headshot image or release forms, it will immediately appear as an incomplete action item for management teams. The Exhibitor Resource Center also offers this feature, which highlights any action items that exhibitors need to complete and provides the date by which they should be completed. While Map Your Show is known for exhibitor tools, the event management technology platform also has a robust Conference Management platform and attendee tools as well. 


What’s the Best Way to Communicate with Different Audiences at a Trade Show? 


NAB Webinar Recap Blog. communication styles between partnersWhen communicating with a wide audience, it is important to have patience and understanding. Different people have different preferences and expectations, and it is crucial to recognize and respect these differences. Josh and Valerie emphasize that each partner can be vastly different from the other, with varying levels of comfort with technology and distinct communication styles. As a trade show manager, it is important to have a thorough understanding of your audience to ensure that your message is reaching the right people. 


The NAB team believes that email is the most effective way to directly reach a wide range of audiences. Email allows you to target specific groups and tailor your message accordingly. However, it is equally important to provide the same information to your entire audience in different ways to ensure that it is familiar and comfortable for them. This could include social media posts, blog articles, or even printed materials.  


Map Your Show’s Event Management Technology has a Send Email tool that allows for easy creation and sending of general mass emails to select different audiences and multiple contacts at a time. This tool helps you to customize your emails with dynamic content and personalization features, such as recipient names and company information. You can also view statistics from these emails, such as reporting, to track open rates, click-through rates, and other key metrics. By analyzing these metrics, you can gain valuable insights into your audience's engagement and adjust your messaging accordingly. 


What is the Most Important Aspect of Making a Conference Session Successful Onsite?  


To prepare speakers for show success, “Preparation and personality of the person on stage is key,” says Miely. preparing speakers for success at a conference. nab webinar recapSessions can at times be a gamble for attendees regarding their overall experience. Josh continues, “The best sessions are speakers who understand that it is both an educational moment, as well as an entertainment moment.” 

Event managers need to ensure that they select speakers who understand and actively implement the idea behind infotainment in their discussions and give information on the event’s audience to make their session a success. Speakers should be made aware that attendees take a chance with their experience and must make it memorable for them. 


DuBreuil highlights the importance of streamlining experiences and ensuring speakers are well-versed in where they should be and when. “It’s not the sexiest part of organizing, but the baseline is helping speakers quickly get the information they need. You have to do the work ahead of time to make sure that people are there when they need to be, and that they understand the technology requirements, so they can hit the ground running.” As a trade show organizer, understanding more about the content and direction of the speaking session is important to help guide the speaker to connect better with the audience.  


With Map Your Show’s Speaker Dashboard, you can manage upcoming sessions with ease, may it be content submissions or signing press release forms. With conference submissions and reviews happening as early as 12 weeks (about 3 months) before the conference, it’s important to have the right technology that will help provide organization for your entire show management team, as well as ensure that your speakers are well prepared and that a valuable experience is being created for your attendees. 


Insights to Give Speakers Before a Session: 


  1. General Information: When? Where? Time? 

  2. Presentation and Technology Needs: Ensure any presentations are prepared before the session. If the speaker is providing a presentation, it may be a good idea to set up a call with them before their session to review A/V needs. You can also have them submit this content prior to the session. 

  3. Audience Demographics: Consider factors like age, profession, and cultural background. 

  4. Knowledge Level: Gauge their understanding of the topic to pitch your content accurately. Are you speaking to first-time attendees or an attendee with 10+ years in the industry of focus? 

  5. Expectations: What are attendees hoping to gain from your session? Insights, practical skills, networking opportunities, or all the above? 

  6. Relevance: Ensure your content is current and resonates with the audience's needs. 

  7. Clarity: Simplify your language and avoid jargon for better understanding. 

  8. Experience Opportunities and Interactive Sessions: Incorporate ideas for engagement opportunities within their session. This can include Q&A sessions, breakout rooms with small group meetings, live polls, and panel discussions. 




At the end of the day, planning and preparing your speakers is the foundation for unforgettable session experiences. Using event technology can bring new and exciting improvements for event management teams and their audiences. Testing these improvements through a "test show" can keep the audience interested and excited for the next event. 

Selecting speakers for a conference can be challenging. However, Map Your Show's Speaker Evaluation tool can simplify and improve the process. Finally, when communicating with a wide audience, it is important to have patience, understanding, and a thorough understanding of your audience to ensure that your message is reaching the right people.

To learn more about Map Your Show, visit or, contact us below for a demo.



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