This is a guest blog article by Alberto Rodriguez from Enliven Production Group.
“We should remember that good fortune often happens when opportunity meets with preparation.”
Thomas A. Edison, Inventor
Where would your event be without the presenters who share your message, sell a product or service, promote an idea or roll out new benefits? And yet wrangling them is hard! They’re like unruly cats, waiting to be herded.
Start Before They Do
It takes an organized, hardworking and dedicated person to manage speakers at events. Maybe even a team. And your job starts well before the big day. As far out in advance as possible, create a timeline for speaker RSVPs, presentation draft deadlines and travel logistic arrangements. This typically happens months prior to the program. Being organized and on top of deadlines on your end gives presenters peace of mind from the start, setting them up for success.
Get Their Presentations Ahead of Time
Every speaker has some sort of presentation, whether that’s PowerPoint, video modules, or participant handouts, or a combination of all of these. This includes presentations for general sessions, sessions broken into specific tracks, breakout rooms, luncheons and anywhere else a speaker has the floor.
Get their presentations ahead of time – how much time is up to you (see above). That way, you can review everything to make sure the formatting is perfect, that their format will work with your audio/visual systems, and that they’ll meet your branding specifications.
Offer Help In Producing Graphic Content
A big part of promoting a company’s brand and message is designing and implementing custom graphics. It’s the first ‘wow’ factor every employee, customer and event attendee sees that captures their attention and helps define the nature and purpose of the event. Whether it’s a product launch, educational conference, training seminar or gala celebration, graphics for the registration desks, website, social media and digital presentations have to look great, promote the event’s purpose, and be designed with standards in place to ensure brand continuity.
Offer presentation guidelines, a template or even to put their presentation into your own format that reinforces your branding to the attendees. Consistency in the graphics helps tie everything together and creates a strong impact. Plus, the speaker won’t have to worry about it themselves.
For some specific ideas about presentation formatting, templates and content, READ THIS.
Create a Speaker Ready Room
Each presenter should check in to a designated place. In fact, make it their first stop after arriving and registering for the event. We call it a Speaker Ready Room.
Because during any event, presenters are extremely busy and focused on accomplishing their goals. They don’t have time to deal with the minutia of your behind the scenes process. The check in, and the safe and proper management of their presentation files by you, has a direct and positive impact on each attendee’s experience. It also helps promote and maintain your company’s high standards of professionalism.
READ MORE about why Speaker Ready Rooms are vital.
“Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.”
Robert H. Schuller, Motivational Speaker
Tell Them When and Where To Go
Distribute speaker schedules and maps (hard copy and digital) and information about meeting room schedules, changes and updates, general venue information and directions. Nothing gives more confidence to a presenter than knowing where they have to be and when. And that you know when and where, too.
Assign a Speaker Liaison
Assign a speaker liaison to orient them to the venue, schedule, other speakers and event timing. That person can make any last-minute revisions on the spot. This gives the presenters additional confidence for delivering their message to the audience.
Use your strong customer service skills to interact positively with every speaker in what can be a stressful environment. Your expertise allows you to provide information and guidance to help speakers deliver successful presentations. If, as race car driver Bobby Unser said, “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet,” then your preparation will mean that your speakers will be successful, indeed.