Getting the most out of your guest speakers at corporate events

The majority of corporate events feature one, or several speakers. Regardless of whether your speaker is an international industry expert, or an internal head of department, your approach to your speakers can make, or break your event. Careful consideration needs to be applied to the order of your line-up, your pre-event publicity and the quality of the presentation itself.

The level of publicity you run prior to an event depends on the type of event you’re managing.

If you’re organising a global conference, your event is bound to feature several prominent speakers. Some may be more well-known than others, but be careful of punting the bigger names only – it’s not unheard of for prominent speakers to cancel at the last minute. Instead, give adequate exposure to lesser-known speakers too. We’ve seen events companies create substantial hype about an international key-note speaker, only to have the speaker miss his flight – leaving them without the star of the show. If you are going to publicise a certain speaker, make absolutely sure that they are in fact going to attend. We suggest using other facets of the event to garner attendance too – whether it’s your incredible venue or the exclusivity of the event. That way, you’ve covered all of your bases – safeguarding against disappointing guests.

If one of your bigger names cancels, the reputation of your event won’t be extensively damaged.

Advertising internal corporate events that consist of staff speakers require a different approach.

Corporate events run within a company can also benefit from pre-event publicity – but not in the public sphere. If you are going to advertise the line-up, make sure that this is done strategically. The last thing you want to do is discourage guests from attending – purely because they don’t want to sit through anotherfaux-authentic pep talk by the head of HR. If you want to avoid an auditorium of empty seats due to guests being less than enthusiastic about a certain speaker, refrain from publicising the line-up. Instead, advertise other features or elements of the event.

Be strategic about the order of speakers in order to avoid lulls in audience attention.

Some corporate events planners are of the opinion that having their main speaker talk at the very end of a conference or workshop will ensure that guests stay throughout the day. Unfortunately, by the time the speaker takes the stage, many guests will have lost interest and subsequently left. If you want to make sure that your speakers are presenting to a full house, your line-up needs to be created strategically. Scatter prominent speakers throughout the day – alternating between presenters who’re well known, and their less-recognised peers.

Brief your speakers before the event in order to ensure that guests are engaged at all times.

Corporate events that feature interactive presentations given by charismatic individuals are those that garner the highest amount of guest satisfaction. Make sure that your speakers have a thorough understanding of what’s expected of them – visually-based, multi-media talks that are presented in a relaxed, conversational way are those that resonate. Equipping speakers with an iPad and a lapel-mike will enable them to walk around the stage or venue – a method that immediately puts both them and your guests at ease.

Image Credit: Clientes APC