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Event Strategy, Event Technology

Top 4 Hidden Costs Managing Your Conference Speakers with Spreadsheets

by Erin Chesterton
on April 18, 2022
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Time is money, and when it comes to managing your conference speakers—every second counts.

While using spreadsheets is a low lift and cost-saving option that "does the trick" can you really trust them to support the ever-changing demands on your conference?

Plain and simple: if your conference is growing, you will soon reach a stage where using spreadsheets is no longer feasible.

In this blog, we explore the top four hidden costs facing conferences that rely on spreadsheets for speaker management. We'll dive into the pros and cons of spreadsheets, how to know when it's time to make the move and a tech stack that can support your ever-changing needs.

Pros to Spreadsheets for Speaker Management

Despite the obvious advantages of lower costs and flexibility, Spreadsheets make the speed, accuracy and collaboration required for success extremely challenging.

Cons to Spreadsheets for Speaker Management

Stop wasting valuable time and resources with legacy systems that keep you stuck in the past.


When Should Your Conference Break Up with Spreadsheets? 

Despite the obvious advantages of lower costs and flexibility, spreadsheets make the speed, accuracy and collaboration required for success extremely challenging.

As a rule of thumb, we find it makes sense of conference to transition out of spreadsheets and into a dedicated speaker management platform when they fall into any of these criteria:

If your answer "yes" to any of these buckets - investing in a solution could pay dividends. 

Beyond this general rule of thumb, here are a few other key signs it's time to transition away from the spreadsheets for speaker management at your conference:

↩️  You have to backtrack and sanity check your numbers all the way to the data sources manually.

🔒 Only a few staff understand the “web of spreadsheets” and become go-to-person for all data requests.

🙈 Staff is working in separate spreadsheets, which lead to contradicting insights that make alignment impossible.

😡 Reporting errors come to light too late and create embarrassing situations for “spreadsheet owners.”

To better understand where your current workflows are falling short, let's explore the top four areas where they are are costing you the most.

Avoid these hidden costs from operating live events with spreadsheets or Airtable

If you're still managing your speakers, abstracts and event content with spreadsheets you could be leaving more than just money on the table. 

The top 4 areas where spreadsheets fall short include:


Hidden cost #1—Time delays & approval bottlenecks

Even the seemingly smallest of errors in a spreadsheet can have costly ramifications. When managing event speakers with Spreadsheets you're inevitably operating from the past.

Whether it's missing data, scheduling errors or missteps with approvals, spreadsheets don't easily integrate across multiple groups or teams, making it challenging to stay on the same page. You lose visibility you need to make accurate decisions and lack the foresight into potential logistical nightmares.

That all leads to time wasted tracking down the status of key items which means less efficient use of your staff and internal resources—which are already limited post-pandemic.

Hidden cost #2—Miscommunication & duplication of efforts

Did you know that a study by Mckinsey found that the average employee spends 28% of the work week just managing email and nearly 20% looking for internal information?

Tracking down email chains, slack chats, texts, notes, another google doc. Sharing and re-sharing. Resolving comments, putting out fires, updating statuses. You're juggling every channel to communicate efficiently and effectively.

Using static systems like Spreadsheets gives little to no visibility into the speaker onboarding process so you can monitor progress. As a result details are missed, communications slip through the cracks and it all reflects poorly on your conference in the eye's of your speaker.

Hidden cost #3—Lack of mobility or real-time data

Eleven times every hour. That's the number of times the average worker checks their email.

Anyone who works conferences knows how critical is it to always have the flexibility to work on-the-go. You need to be everywhere, all at once. Your ability to make accurate decisions on the fly is crucial for successful and smooth operations.

However, spreadsheets are notoriously difficult to navigate via mobile device. Considering that 44 percent of business professionals say they check the progress of their projects more than 20 times a day, the need for instant access to accurate progress is essential. 

Hidden cost #4—Reputation management with speaker talent

Nothing says, "come speak at our cutting edge conference" like being sent to a google form...

When it comes to forging new connections to grow your conference, the experience means EVERYTHING. Landing your dream speaker can quickly turn into a logistical nightmare if you don't have the right processes and infrastructure in place to guide them on the complex journey.

The speaker experience happens in phases and over the course of weeks, often months. You need to ensure you have a system that keeps your internal team aligned, while giving speakers crystal clear visibility into what they need to be successful.

The right speaker management platform will support that end to end journey - which equals less headaches for your staff and more clarity for your speakers.


Using spreadsheets to manage your conference speakers? Time to upgrade

Now is the time to set new standards that bring rock solid infrastructure to your ever-changing speaker management processes. More than a spreadsheets, Lennd's speaker management solution is keeping conferences on the cutting-edge and saving them hours in the process.

Beyond time savings, streamlining your speaker management journey under one system will help your conference:


Pairing your operational know-how with Lennd's speaker management portal will revolutionize the way you manage conferences. Plus, you'll get more time back to focus on what matters most: building epic experiences.


Lennd is a technology company that builds infrastructure to help bring events of every size to life. From small music festivals to major conferences, sports gatherings and everything in between—event leaders across the globe trust our software to manage their event operations and provide their people with one streamlined experience.

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