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Managing your speaker on the day of your event

You’ve done all the hard work of organising and briefing your speaker, now make sure that things run smoothly on the day of your event.

Make your speaker feel welcome On the day of your event, you will most probably be busy managing your programme and taking care of logistics. Even if you can’t personally meet them, make sure that there is a designated person and place for your speakers to be received. It may be a good idea to have a designated speaker’s host for all events if you’re not able to play this role. The speakers should ideally be welcomed with the latest version of the event programme and shown to their seat in the auditorium. Remember to either introduce them to the AV crew or hand over their presentation to be uploaded by the AV crew.

Brief them about protocol If you’re having a big event, your VIPs may have changed at the last minute, meaning that the briefing document that your speakers have may not be the most up to date. Have a printer on site so that you can print the latest names of any esteemed guests to give to your emcee and other speakers to ensure they can observe proper protocol by addressing any dignitaries directly before starting their presentations.

Test for any bugs The speaker’s presentation should be uploaded and their presentation video or sound clips tested before the keynote presentation kicks off. Or if your speaker is using their own laptop, make sure that it ‘talks’ to your AV crew’s projector. Connect it up beforehand and make sure the presentation plays. If all technical aspects are tested and prepared ahead of time, it will help you to avoid trouble and tears at your event.

Dietary requirements If your speaker notified you of special dietary requirements before the event, brief them on where and how they can collect their meal. This will avoid you having to deal with questions and requests about meals when you are tied up with other logistics.

Media coverage during the event Many event planners can tell stories of where high profile individuals were ad-libbing during an event, unaware of a media presence in the audience, only to be infuriated to see their comments in the media the next day. Not only is it courteous to warn your speaker of any internal or external communications people present, it will also give your speaker a heads-up to choose their words carefully.

Provide them with feedback It’s helpful to have delegates complete an event questionnaire just before your event closes. If you deem it appropriate, share the relevant feedback with your speaker. If you’d prefer not to provide in-depth written feedback, a simple thank you phone call or email after the event will keep the relationship intact and sign off your event on a positive note.


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