How to Manage Event Speakers at a Conference

conference setting

So, you have a conference coming up in a few weeks with 120 speakers lined up to speak.

You have the list of topics each speaker will present, and you’re leaving it to them to prepare and present. And, you’re planning on gathering all their presentation data a week before the big day and storing it in dedicated folders.

Now, picture this: while playing a presentation, an embedded file doesn’t play as expected and the presentation turns out to have 50+ slides, with most of them having quality issues. The presenter loses track of time and they go on and on way beyond their allotted time slots, disrupting the entire schedule.

To make things worse, some presenters are turning up with new updates to their slides right up to the last minute, which is causing major panic for your team right now.

Now, come back to the present and think: how can you manage your event speakers and avoid these potential mishaps?

We have some helpful tips that can assist you in delivering smooth presentations at your event and effectively managing your speakers!

Communicate from the start

It’s always a good idea to set expectations for your speakers from the start—the moment you approach them to speak at your conference and they accept your invitation.

  • Share details regarding content, format, and duration.
  • Discuss the preferred file formats for slides, any specific themes or topics to cover, and any technical requirements.
  • Be readily available to answer any questions or concerns they might have.
  • Offer resources and support to help speakers prepare well—this could include providing sample templates and style guides for creating engaging presentations.
  • Create a feedback mechanism for speakers to receive constructive feedback on their presentations. Provide suggestions and effective methods to help them improve their content and delivery.

Create a proper timeline

By now, you might have already created the full schedule of your conference, outlining the time slots for each speaker. You might have even made your audience aware of this schedule and can already sense their excitement at listening to these experts’ insights.

Now, take a moment and ask yourself—is this schedule (that you built once and never really revisited) enough to handle 120 speakers?

Will allocating them a time slot help them stick to it and prepare their content accordingly?

You might need to reinforce your schedule to your speakers a few times before the conference to make sure they all align with it. Here’s how:

  • Set clear deadlines for your speakers to submit their presentation materials. 
  • Provide a timeline indicating when drafts, final versions, and any supplementary materials are due.
  • Give them sufficient time to prepare and stick to this time frame.
  • Work closely with the conference organizers to allocate appropriate time slots for each speaker within the overall agenda. Consider factors such as the topic’s significance, speaker expertise, and the flow of the event.
  • Aim for diverse presentation formats—this could include keynote speeches, panel discussions, workshops, and interactive Q&A sessions.
  • Allocate sufficient time for each presentation while also allowing transitions between two sessions.

To ensure your speakers are well-prepared for their session and follow their allotted time limit, you can assign moderators to personally work with each speaker.

Get your speakers to submit their presentations on time

To avoid last-minute hassle during the presentation, it’s best to invite all your speakers to submit their presentations beforehand. 

It’s beneficial for two reasons:

  • You can do a quality control check and see if everything is in place—the audio, video, multimedia files, and presentation format. 
  • You can make sure the presentation has just the required number of slides to fit their dedicated time slot. 

With presentation management software like Preseria, you can easily send personalized invitations to your speakers, asking them to upload their presentation files. You can track these emails and see which ones your speakers have opened. You can even send automated reminders to your speakers to upload the content by a set deadline. 

Check for formatting

Manually checking the uploaded presentation data for formatting and errors can be time-consuming and require an extra team effort to finish.

But does that guarantee an error-free quality control process?

Chances are your team may have overlooked some elements of the presentations, considering they’re manually scanning hundreds of them!

This is why Preseria automatically checks the uploaded files for errors—be it broken links to (non-embedded) videos or format mismatches. You can even accommodate any last-minute updates to the presentation with just a few clicks! This helps you avoid embarrassment during the presentation and lets you run the conference smoothly without interruptions.

Keep your speakers on time

To make sure all your speakers get the opportunity to share their insights, you need to stick to the schedule. That means encouraging all the speakers to stay within their allotted time limit and adhere to the guidelines. 

Here’s how to go about it:

  • Be very selective about who you invite to speak—usually, experts with past experience of speaking at events know how to stay within a timeline.
  • While setting expectations, make sure to not appear to be micro-managing. Let them have the creative freedom to deliver their best speech at the conference. 
  • Invite your speakers for a demo and offer your assistance.
  • Set up a stage timer system they can monitor during their speech to be considerate of the time.

Manage thousands of speakers with ease using Preseria

Preseria is your one-stop solution for presentation management when you’re managing hundreds or thousands of speakers and a large audience. It makes collecting presentation data easier and hassle-free, and you can send automated reminders to speakers to upload their content by a deadline. 

Moreover, the Preseria desktop app allows a seamless display and switch between PowerPoints, PDFs & videos by different speakers. This helps you run any file format without having to switch manually between applications. 

Book your demo with Preseria today!

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