You want a great meeting, a great speaker, great content, and then you want everyone to run up to you and say “Wow! This was the very best meeting we have EVER HAD!” Well, I can guarantee that it will happen when you have me speak at your next event.
Here are a few requirements, tips, and hints that will insure your meeting is an outstanding success.
I like to move around, so please do NOT put me behind a lectern or head table. If the head table is on a riser or a stage, pull it back from the edge to allow space for me to stand in front of it. Please include a small draped table downstage (close to the audience) for props and water. Use a larger table if the program requires PowerPoint presentation.
For any size audience, have the people close to your speaker and close to each other. This builds excitement and instant rapport. Try to seat people near the front of the room. Have only as many chairs as you expect people, with extra chairs stacked up at the back of the room just in case you need them.
Often people will “tape and hold” the last few rows of the room. Then the latecomers will have seating as you remove the tape when the program is about to begin. This insures the front rows will not be empty and will offer the best results.
Stagger the chairs so the audience does not have to twist and turn in their seats to see past the head of the person directly in front of them.
Please make sure the lights are turned on so the entire room is well lit, especially the stage area. If spotlights are available, consider using them.
If the door at the back of the room closes loudly, please have a doorstop or tape the lock so that the door will not be a distraction.
Use table rounds for smaller groups, particularly for full or multi-day programs.
A chevron pattern is great for larger groups, where you stagger the chairs with two aisles one to the left and one to the right of the center of the stage. When the audience’s chairs are arranged in a chevron rather than straight rows, facing the stage will be more comfortable.
The most important equipment requirement is a CORDLESS LAVALIERE MICROPHONE so I can move around and go into the audience.
If a lavaliere microphone is not available, the second choice is a cordless, hand-held microphone.
For smaller “coaching style” groups or full and multi-day programs, I may need an easel and pad with new black or blue pens. This allows for brainstorming and group involvement.
It is difficult for a speaker to build rapport with the audience if they are still eating. Please schedule the presentation so the tables are cleared before introducing the speaker. This will avoid having the audience distracted by the noise of the waiters/waitresses.
You know how distracting those cell phones and hand held devices can be, so we highly recommend that you mention to people before all the speakers start, that they silence their cell phones, etc.
The eye follows movement, not sound. If photos are to be taken, we suggest not taking them during the first fifteen minutes of the presentation. It will be too much of a distraction for your audience and the speaker. Have your photographer take photos from the back of the room and/or have him take “posed action shots” during the break.
We suggest scheduling award presentations, extended announcements, sad announcements, or moments of silence until after your speaker is finished, or give the audience a stretch break for a couple of minutes before introducing the speaker.
Audiences will not receive much value from any speaker after athletic activities, marathon meetings, cocktail parties, gourmet dinners, or arriving jet-lagged from another time zone.
We hope this will help you. We want to present a first-class program.
Help Us Be Prepared
Here are a few things that we need to know:
*Who will be introducing the speaker and do they know that introductions are available here on the website to help them with that?
*Do you want a confirming phone call to let you know the speaker has arrived as scheduled?
*What is the event schedule and where does this presentation fit in? What time is the speaker expected to begin and end the program?
*Do you want the speaker to attend anything else while there?
*What is the name, address, and phone number of the hotel where the speaker will be staying? Will you be making the reservation or will the speaker be required to make their own?
*How will everyone be dressed? Will the speaker need any evening clothes for the event?
Help Us Customize
Here are a few things we need to know:
*Could you please provide the names and telephone numbers of 4 to 6 people in your organization that we can interview before the program?
*What is the male/female ratio in your group? Average age? Education level?
*What is the biggest issue facing your attendees right now?
*What do they want most right now and in the future?
*What is the most important thing you want the group to walk away with?
*By percentage, how much of the program do you want to be motivational (inspiration, stories and examples) and how much content (ideas, homework, “how to”)? For example, you may want a program to be 80% content and 20% motivation.
*Is there anything that other speakers in the past have done that really helped your group that we should do as well?