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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. Reineke is one of six mentors helping our new speakers so let’s get to know her a bit better.

Why did you volunteer to be a mentor for new speakers at IIeX?
Because I had a couple of great mentors when I started public speaking, and I still benefit from their advice. I’d love to share lessons learned from my own experiences to help the next generation of speakers.

What do you think holds people back from speaking?
I think many of us are afraid to fail. Please keep in mind you are probably your own worst critic.

What advice do you have for new speakers?
reinekePractice, practice, practice. Build a story line that fits your personality, with nice graphics, pictures, and jokes. Write everything down and learn by heart. Practice on your commute, in front of the mirror, during your exercise. Invite a couple colleagues in a room and give the speech to them and ask for feedback. You need to practice till the words feel natural and you know exactly what you’re going to say. Only then you have room to let go, and enjoy the experience!

Other advice?
New speakers often are worried that they will not remember their story line, or that they will get hard questions. Keep in mind that nobody knows the topic as well as you do. Even if you don’t remember every single word you wanted to say – nobody will notice as they didn’t know you wanted to say them in the first place. Feel confident in your knowledge of the material.

And with regards to questions: as said before: nobody knows this topic as well as you do. But if there is a question you feel uncomfortable with just address that: ‘Thank you, that is a very interesting question but falls outside of the scope of my research. Please contact me afterwards and I will make sure a colleague of mine who does cover this area of expertise will get in touch.’

Reineke Reitsma is Research Director at Forrester Research, where she leads a team that helps Customer Insight professionals understand how technology developments influence the market insight industry, and how to adapt research agendas, research methodologies, and team structure accordingly to stay successful and relevant.  Her team is responsible for all data innovation efforts at Forrester, where they test and seek to understand which data sources and research methodologies are appropriate to help clients gain an intricate, 360-degree view of the consumer. Reineke has spoken at numerous events, like Esomar Insights, MRMW, and IIeX, and her research has been cited in publications worldwide.


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!