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Next February, at the IIeX Europe conference in Amsterdam, there will be an entire track devoted to brand new speakers – people who have never spoken at a conference before. Kerry is one of six mentors helping our new speakers so let’s get to know her a bit better.

kerryWhy did you volunteer to be a mentor for new speakers at IIeX?
Attending your first conference and/or speaking at one can be overwhelming. I’d like to lend what experience and support I can.

What do you think holds people back from speaking?
I think the obvious answer is fear. Fear of public speaking, fear of it not being well attended or people not being interested enough.
That said, I think there’s more to it than that. It seems like the call for papers is something people really have to seek out and often the conferences themselves are discouraging towards suppliers or agencies. When a call for papers does come out it specifically requests case studies or papers from corporate researchers only. I believe this helps create the environment where new speakers feel concerned that submitting will be a waste of their time.

kerry 2What should our industry do to get more new speakers on stage?
I love the idea of having a new speakers track. I also think they should be encourage that more in the wording they use in the call for papers.

What advice do you have for new speakers?
Relax, breathe and enjoy. Try to stay conversational. Remember that your audience is there to learn, not to judge.

Kerry began her career as a phone interviewer for MARC Opinion Research in Dallas at the age of 19 and has worked her way up in the industry ever since. Being an intuitive thinker and tireless people watcher led her to take on more research-focused roles, where she can focus on the “why.” She fuels her passion for online qualitative research as a Director of Research Services for Recollective. Prior to joining Recollective, Kerry worked for Dub, Added-Value, Burke and Hall and Partners.
If you’ve never spoken at a conference before, please submit for this track. Choose any topic that touches market research like biometrics, neuroscience, eye-tracking, AI, and IoT or any traditional quant and qual methods.

If you HAVE spoken at a conference before, you can still help. First, you can march right over to the junior researchers in your office and help them fill out a submission form. And second, since junior researchers don’t always have the financial resources for travel expenses, you can support them through a sponsorship. Email anniepettit at gmail dot com to find out how you can help.

Now go submit!