You want to provide the best possible experience for your audience and your speakers. We do too! With that in mind, even seasoned professional speakers can benefit from smart practices to calm their nerves (and yours!) leading up to the big event.
Coordinate a phone call with presenters and share valuable insights about your group from key demographics and industry trends to anything else that might help them personalize their presentation to your audience. Offer to introduce presenters to a few leaders willing to connect in advance to hear directly from participants. The fact is, audiences appreciate when a presenter takes the time to tailor their remarks and show they've made an effort to understand their background.
Request presentation slides in advance. Inquire about video, sound, and any other relevant presentation elements. Prepare slides on the laptop that will be connected to the projector and test everything out for audio and visual quality before the event to allow time for troubleshooting.
If your presenter plans to bring their own laptop, be sure to have the correct adaptor for the LCD projector. This is especially important if they bring a Macbook. It is much easier and less stressful to get slides from presenters in advance and not switch out laptops after each presenter. Your A/V techs will thank you!
Ask about mic preference. Do speakers want to move around the room with a lavalier microphone clipped on? Or do they ask audience questions and require a wireless handheld?
Collect and save speaker cell numbers so it's easy to connect as needed. Mobile numbers are best to reach folks as they're traveling. On the flip side, share your contact information with all the speakers as well to make yourself accessible. Travel changes and last-minute challenges happen, so being able to connect matters.
Communicate date, time, venue location, and specific conference room. Invite speakers to arrive at least 30 minutes before their session starts to get them acclimated to the space. You want slides up and running and time for a rehearsal.
Provide a remote slide advancer and show speakers how it works. They're all a bit different and you want them to feel confident using it.
Leave two bottles of water on the podium or stage for each speaker. Talking (and nerves!) dry out any mouth.
Do your speakers need anything else before their presentation? Ask! They'll be grateful. And remember to point out where restrooms are located.
Assign a reliable contact to track time and notify the speaker when they have 15, 10, 5 minutes—and finally when time is up. This keeps audiences happy and conference schedules on-track. Print clear signs on cardstock so the minutes remaining are easy to hold up and view.
Your attendees participate in conferences and events to engage with presenters and ideally apply what they've learned to enhance their lives. You have the power to make it all possible! Help your speakers perform confidently. Proper planning and open communication are the keys to avoiding mishaps and encouraging all involved to succeed.