However, in today’s virtual/hybrid world, preparing speakers for their sessions can be at the bottom of a long list for event producers and managers. Often, speakers are left alone to figure out the platform and how to stage their talks. This can lead to unwanted factors like poor camera angles, bad lighting and technical issues.
Properly guided, checked and supported speakers can make or break an event. Here are our top tips for preparing speakers, ensuring a better quality experience for everyone, including the speakers, the audience, the production team and event sponsors.
1. Clear communications from the outset
Flooding a speakers’ inbox with too many emails can put them off and might mean that they do not read high-priority emails. Speakers usually have a small time window to go through the information and get themselves prepared. Ensure that you send simple instructions with bulleted items/checklists, create a single point of contact from the off and align calendars so that they receive invites to briefings well before the event.
2. Good connection and technology
In the virtual environment, there are so many temptations for delegates to click away from talks and switch back to their day job. Your sessions have to remain engaging and continuous to keep their attention. Glitches, lags, and problems with sound can quickly put off your audience, so your speakers must have suitable home office kit.
Virtual and hybrid events rely on many external variables, including the setup and quality of sound speakers, robust internet connections, good webcams/cameras and crystal-clear microphones/headset. Speakers aren’t always technically savvy, so direct instructions on setting up (and what tech they need) are key to professional-looking sessions.
At the 2020 Liver Disease Congress, GoRemote saw that over 50% of the issues faced were down to speakers having difficulty with technical setup. One of our primary roles was to ensure that the speakers were fully versed with the systems and interactivity tools used and were confident that their home office technology would perform upon joining the live event. During the congress, GoRemote solved any technical issues well before they impacted upon speakers’ sessions. Read the full case study.
3. Controlled plan to stage
When speakers experience issues at an event, it can have a knock-on effect, putting stress on the production and technical teams and taking them away from other tasks. It also means that talks might be delayed if the problem isn’t quick to fix, giving the audience a reason to leave and affecting the agenda runtime.
Talking in a virtual space reduces the lines of communication a speaker might have. Traditionally, they could have a chat with a sound engineer or a technical team member, but these people can be hard to get hold of in a virtual environment.
Structured speaker checks and the ability to test and address issues well before the session can significantly reduce the strain on production staff and remove some of the stress from the speakers.
4. Speaker appearance checks
In addition to the usual network and tech checks, you can make small improvements in how a speaker looks and sounds. This could be as simple as moving their camera position/framing, checking if they have a headset (or even purchasing one for them), placing them in a tidy room with plenty of light, moving them closer to the router (if their connection is iffy) or doing the talk from an office rather than home.
5. Detailed briefing
Underpinning all great events are transparent and concise speaker briefings. Your speakers need to know all the important information so that they are prepared well in advance, including:
- How the event/session will run and full agenda timings
- Is there a panel afterwards?
- Is there a chat function/who is moderating this?
- What is expected of them – how they should be delivering the session
- Who is chairing?
- Are there event tools? These should be run through with the speaker beforehand.
- Is it being recorded/is it live?
6. Support on the day
Leaving speakers to their own devices on the day can create confusion. A stage manager presence is required so that speakers are relaxed and confident. Having someone on hand to immediately deal with any technical problems or other issues affecting performance means that speakers can get on with what they do best – bringing a great session to the audience.
Why choose a dedicated speaker management service?
Structured and controlled speaker preparation offers a higher-quality event meaning that people are more likely to return to talk again, audiences enjoy the event (and might look for others that you offer), and sponsors are happy with their investment.
GoRemote understands that organisations and events agencies may not be able to thoroughly brief speakers with everything they need pre-event. That’s where we come in. Our seasoned stage managers can take the stress out of speaker briefing, ensuring a smooth and seamless process that will give you better prepared and more confident speakers. Get in touch with our experienced team: firstname.lastname@example.org – we look forward to hearing from you!