Often during conferences, event organisers worry that they might face challenges in keeping the delegates’ interest during the live general sessions. Similarly, attendees feel that they have been exposed to the same proceedings again and again, particularly if they are participating to an annual conference that follows the same build-up every year.
Are there ways to get the most out of the general sessions while keeping your attendees’ interest high without spending a fortune? By employing the following techniques you will manage to enhance the audience experience, add more to the conference’s overall impact and also simplify the work of your presenters without having to raise your given budget:
- Add an extra day -or two- just for rehearsals
Usually, the selected keynote speakers will provide their material (speeches, slides, etc.) to the event producers in the nick of time. On top of that -especially if they are high-profile industry experts or VIPs- they will not be too receptive when asked to do a full rehearsal prior to the conference. Even if you are working with the most capable technicians in the business, the first thing that would probably go wrong is something that has not been tested or rehearsed in advance. Make sure you push for speech rehearsals in addition to sound & graphic testing, for avoiding any last minute surprises.
- Do you really need a podium?
It is widely used in conferences, delegates have got used to it and expect to hear what the keynote speaker has to say while standing behind it. The truth is that when using a podium, you are basically placing a barrier between the speaker and the audience; moreover the speaker feels restricted to just 1-2 sq.meters of space and the audience feels like being in a university lecture room! To avoid all that, consider using a smaller podium on either side of the stage – a place where your speaker can place notes; or better yet, use wireless headphones that will give your speaker the freedom to move around the stage, engaging the audience more effectively.
- Change your introduction method
In cases where your presenter has multiple roles assigned to his/her name, you should be wary of how to make the announcement when on stage, as timing and build-up are always essential. In most cases, the name goes first -it’s the signal to start walking towards the stage-, followed by the titles and by the time he/she reaches the stage for addressing the audience, all the music and clapping during the introduction have stopped. For keeping the build-up and for giving a more theatrical tone during speaker presentations, try using the name at the end instead of the beginning.
Find more tips and inspiration here.