September 7, 2021
How To Perfectly Prepare Multiple Speakers For Virtual Events
BY Tom Mahon
September 7th, 2021
As experts in delivering virtual and hybrid events, we know the importance of engaging content. A lacklustre speaker or dreary presentation loses attendee focus and may even lead them to drop off completely. Now your virtual presenters can be anywhere in the world – one of the major benefits of virtual/hybrid events – it does lead to another challenge: managing multiple speakers.
If we are to benefit from the treasure trove of opportunities that online events offer, we need some standardisation. Here are our tips for managing multiple speakers:
1. Use a Virtual Event Producer
Virtual event producers adopt a mindset similar to a television or radio producer when it comes to timings. In the same way that people tune in for (and set their clocks by) hourly news bulletins, online audiences will tune in at certain times, potentially from across different time zones, and expect the advertised content.
For a smooth running order, the speakers need to know the schedule, how long they have to speak and present, and the length of time of any Q&A sessions or discussions. The virtual event producer will orchestrate the whole event and will bring in the speakers according to the schedule, ensuring everything comes together on time.
2. Moderator + Co-Host = Success
Having a moderator and a co-host adds structure to the session. These roles are essential to success, allowing the speakers to focus on presenting. The roles assist with technical glitches, housekeeping notes, ensuring the session flows intuitively and can take over in case any of the speakers experience poor internet connections.
3. Co-Create Speaker Content
While speakers will develop their content for your virtual event, it is important to see it ahead of time. Tweaking small details could make the world of difference to the delivery and how engaging the content is, especially if the content has only been delivered at an in-person event.
Remember, attendees have shorter attention spans online and can experience screen fatigue. If the speaker has never presented online before, they will likely welcome your help and guidance.
If your speakers are explaining complex concepts, often animated video can be a gamechanger to help your audience understand and keep them engaged. For more information on animation in events, take a read of our Insights blog: “Event Animation Services: How to Optimise Event Content“.
4. Explain the Tech
It is important that the speaker understands the platform, the tech that will be used, and has an overall good level of understanding of virtual/hybrid events and what they entail. If they haven’t attended or spoken at a virtual or hybrid event before, or aren’t particularly tech-savvy, they may need a little more hand-holding.
It is also good to let them know if they will be able to see the attendees. Some event platforms won’t allow this, while others will, and it can also be down to the preference of the company running the event. Let them know as much as possible so there are no surprises, allowing them to deliver their best content.
For instance, letting them know they can use polls might be the icing on the cake for the delivery of their message. And explaining the requirements for slide decks and how to upload them, allows for a more streamlined process.
5. Emphasise the Importance of Time
There’s more lenience at in-person events when speakers run over by a few minutes. This is absolutely not the case in the virtual world! Letting time run away is a big mistake. Like a live TV production, we need to be in absolute control of time. The News at 6.00 pm comes on at 6.00 pm and finishes on time, every time. The same exacting attention to detail is required in virtual event production.
If a speaker is renowned for going over their allotted slot, consider pre-recording their session so that it can be edited to the correct timings and then bring them online for the live Q&A.
In this scenario, the emphasis will need to focus on consistency, such as ensuring the speaker is wearing the same clothes so the final event will look professional and expertly produced.
6. Fully Brief Your Speakers
Some speakers are getting used to the complexities of speaking in the virtual space, but the more useful speaker information we can provide, the better. It is essential to reiterate what has already been agreed, to ensure all objectives are met and everyone is on the same page.
Cover the basics and be super clear on the audience participation that is or isn’t available. Speaker briefing sessions are incredibly important as event production companies have different workflows and will use technologies and applications in different ways to produce the live event.
Make sure technical briefings for speakers are included in the package from the event production company.
7. Insist on Rehearsals
Arrange rehearsal(s) before you go live. It’s best these are done a minimum of a week in advance, with a second topline rehearsal the day before. This attention to detail and planning will make for a successful event. Insist on your speakers, host, tech team and anyone else playing a key role in the event knows what they are doing, when they are doing it, and what to do if things go wrong.
When we say rehearse, we mean rehearse from top to bottom. Don’t just talk through what will happen, rehearse it all. This shows up challenges, and opportunities, and allows for adjustments to make the event as slick as possible.
We hope our top tips for managing multiple speakers helps with your next virtual event, but remember we’re here if you’d like a hand. We build events around you using the latest tech, brand-led content, and seamless production. Get in touch with us to discuss your next project.