How to Prepare Speakers for an Event

Preparing presenters

Julia, a marketing head at a prestigious company, has spoken at many events. She knows the drill—prepare the slides, practice her speech, and stick to the time limit. Despite her experience, Julia feels nervous about this conference she’s going to present at in a month. The audience will be larger than she is used to (about 10,000 people), so she feels more intense pressure to deliver an impactful talk.

Meanwhile, Alex is gearing up for his first-ever speaking engagement at the same conference. He’s passionate about the topic, but struggling to create an effective presentation that captures the audience’s attention and can be covered within the given timeframe.

As the conference organizer, you can assist speakers like Julia and Alex in preparing their presentation material, refining their presentation skills, and building confidence to present in front of a large audience.

Share the required guidelines

When dealing with 100+ speakers for a conference, it’s hard to coordinate with them and manage their content. Just knowing their presentation topic isn’t enough—you need to have all the information about their talk, including the content format, theme, number of slides, and the actual content. 

They might have a different visual of what their presentation will look like than yours, and since you’re managing the conference, the presentation must align with your overall theme and agenda.

Let’s say, the main theme of the conference is climate change around the globe and one speaker is required to speak on “how glaciers are melting”. Then, you need to make sure their presentation sticks to the topic and does not deviate in another direction.

To keep your speakers on the same page as you, it’s important to keep them updated and set the expectations right.

  • Share details about the content format and general guidelines—preferred file formats, themes to follow, and other technical requirements.
  • Create a proper timeline where you set a clear deadline for submitting their presentation content before the presentation. Indicate when first drafts, final drafts, and supplementary materials are due.
  • Encourage your speakers to submit their presentations on time by sending them personalized invitations.

Using presentation management software like Preseria, you can send invites to your speakers using email templates from the platform. It allows you to track these invitation emails and send automated follow-ups if they fail to upload before a specific date and time.

Check-in before the talk

Having jitters before the big talk is natural for anyone. But before these jitters turn into panic attacks, you need to jump in and help them calm down. 

Check in with them to see how they’re doing and ask them if they need any last-minute help or support. This is when you can conduct a final rehearsal with them to help them pace themselves according to the time limit and share relaxation strategies to promote calm and confidence. 

Provide a quiet and private space where your speakers can gather their thoughts and mentally prepare before taking the stage. And don’t forget to share final words of encouragement and support to boost their morale. Remind them of their expertise and the value of their message, and reassure them that they are well-prepared to deliver a successful presentation.

Offer support and resources

You cannot control what happens during the presentation—whether the speakers confidently present their speeches or get stage fright and deliver poorly. What you can control is how to help them conquer their fears and give their best shot.

Your role here is to ensure they have all the tools and support they need to deliver a stellar performance. Here’s all that you can do:

  • Offer one-on-one coaching sessions to help them practice their speech and receive tailored feedback on their content, delivery, and timing. 
  • Host workshops focusing on essential presentation skills, such as storytelling, slide design, and audience engagement techniques.
  • Create a dedicated online portal where speakers can access articles, videos, templates, and guides to prepare effectively.

Prepare your speakers for an interactive session

Audiences love interactive sessions, where they can share their opinions and feedback during the live session. This helps them engage with the presentation better and grasp every bit of value out of it. 

However, you cannot expect your speakers to facilitate an interactive session, if they’ve never done it before. Particularly, when they’re used to the one-way delivery of content and handling questions afterwards, they might struggle to adapt to this newer model. 

How about getting them familiar with this concept?

  • Start by sharing a detailed demo of how to use event apps that allow them to run polls and quizzes.
  • Help them understand the points throughout their presentation where they’d like to test the audience’s knowledge or know their views. 
  • Collect questions from the speakers to input in your app in advance, so the polls and quizzes run smoothly at their allotted time. 
  • Don’t forget to include those questions in their slides, so both the speaker and the audience can be alerted when the questions come. And it’s always a good idea to display the results on the big screen to wow the audience and generate curiosity in them. 
  • Share the best practices with the speakers to conduct these interactive quizzes and polls—for how long they should wait for the attendees to input their responses, or how they should incorporate the results to drive the conversation in their presentation.

Make delivering presentations a breeze for your speakers

Preparing speakers for a conference is more of a multi-faceted approach that requires both pre-talk and last-minute preparations.

From initial meetings to final check-ins, the goal is to equip the speakers with the tools and support they need to deliver impactful presentations.

A presentation management software like Preseria takes all the content-gathering worry away from you, so speakers can focus on their stage presence and you can focus on running everything smoothly. No matter how (and how many) speakers are presenting at your conference, Preseria helps you collect presentation data from all and even sends automated reminders in case someone needs some encouragement to get their slides done in time.

Book a demo with Preseria today!

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