Dive Industry Creates a Speakers Bureau

Developing an Industry Speakers Bureau
By Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Foundation
June 7, 2017

In our series on Developing the Ideal Dive Show, we are breaking down the components that make a show successful for the attendees, speakers, exhibitors, volunteers, sponsors, staff and show management.  The most important component is, of course, the attendees.  We design a dive show based on who attends the show and what they expect to see and do and who they expect to meet.

The second component of a dive show are the seminars, workshops, film shows, meetings and activities that are organized into an integrated program for the attendees.  We call this second component “Presentations.”  Presentations are the meat & potatoes of any dive show, whether it is designed as a consumer show, trade show or professional development conference.  Having a high level of presentations means there will be more interest in attending the event.

Speakers and Presenters are the Ambassadors of our industry.  I can’t stress enough how important our speakers are when it comes to promoting our recreation through positive contact with the general public.  They are the story tellers of our industry.  They are the hands-on, been there, done that people of the recreational diving industry.  No one knows the impact one short seminar at a long forgotten dive show could have on the future of one individual, sitting in awe of the information being presented by an enthusiastic speaker.  Maybe it could be that life-changing moment that turns a dream into a life-long passion or career.  That’s why we want to introduce our Speakers to the world.

The purpose of this article is to develop an Industry Speakers Bureau that keeps track of speakers and presenters in our industry and their topics of expertise.  As we compile a group of speakers and presenters, we learn a lot about their topic of choice and their scope.  Looking at the show guides of dive shows in the past, I can see that speakers tend to be International, National or Regional in Scope.  Some focus on education and some more on entertainment.  Some presentations are focused on topics that appeal to recreational divers and some have more of a professional development appeal.

For the recreational diver, topics of current interest seem to be Underwater Photography and Video, Wreck Diving, Freediving, Technical Diving, Rebreather Diving, Spearfishing, and of course, Adventure Travel Diving.  From an educational side, Diving Medicine is very important, and so is the mechanics and meaning of diving equipment.  From a professional development side of diving and diving instruction, the topics of interest are plentiful.  Career development, improved teaching techniques, equipment maintenance and repair, employment opportunities, certification updates and renewals and the business of diving as a part-time or full-time profession.

Dive shows need to have an element of interest for recreational divers and industry professionals alike.  Both types attend the events as attendees, speakers, exhibitors, volunteers or staff.  Show producers establish the venue to accommodate local divers and visiting industry professionals.  To maximize the benefits of so much industry talent converging on one location for a weekend or more, it makes sense to include as much activity as the facilities can handle.

The Scuba & H2O Adventure Show is scheduled for April 20-22, 2018 in Tacoma, Washington.  Exhibiters and Speakers will be arriving from all over the globe on Thursday and Friday.  While the exhibiters are setting up on Friday, the show will host its professional development side of the show.  Show management is encouraging speakers and companies to conduct workshops, seminars and meetings targeted toward dive industry professionals.  Workshops that pull an audience away from an event for 4-8 hours, like equipment repair training, Instructor certification updates and technical training sessions are not a problem on Friday.  The Saturday and Sunday portion of the show is focused on local attendees and visiting divers as much as possible.  Everyone can participate and enjoy the exhibits, the seminars and film shows.  With proper booth staffing, exhibitors can even schedule time with their Instructors, Clients and Dealers anytime during the entire weekend; Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

The main purpose of organizing workshops, seminars, and meetings ten months in advance of a show is that it gives us time to find the most interesting topics that have the most appeal with audiences.  It allocates sufficient time to promote the show activities and invite attendees who would be interested in the program. Our goal is to bring a world-class event to Tacoma in April and inform and invite as many people as we can.

The Dive Industry Foundation is asking all Speakers to send us their contact information and topics of interest. Please include a recent photograph and a short Speaker’s Abstract & Bio.  You can email your information to gene@diveindustry.org or mail your information and a business card to Dive Industry Foundation, 2294 Botanica Circle, West Melbourne, FL 32904.  For more information, contact Gene Muchanski at 321-914-3778.

The best example of speaker information I have seen so far is Beneath the Sea’s 2017 Speakers’ Abstracts & Bios.  Beneath the Sea published 14 pages of speakers and their bios in their 2017 show guide.  Fantastic job; clear pictures and short bios.  They even included a short abstract of each seminar the speakers were presenting.  This format should be the model for all seminars and show guides to come and we certainly will use it as a guide when we create the Dive Industry Speakers Bureau.

We are looking forward to seeing you in Tacoma on April 20-22, 2018.

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