Creating a World-Class Speaker Experience: Best Practices for Conference Organisers

The speaker experience, often overlooked, significantly impacts the effectiveness and overall conference experience.

The role of a speaker may seem straightforward: prepare, show up, present, and answer questions. However, there are numerous elements that contribute to their overall experience, including engaging with the audience, managing stress and fatigue, and more.

Conference organisers hold the power to transform ordinary events into extraordinary experiences that leave a lasting impact. With innovative thinking and meticulous planning, they weave together the threads of creativity, knowledge, and community.

In this article, we explore tactics that can be employed by conference organisers to breathe life into their events by fostering unforgettable speaker experience.

  1. Clear Communication Channels: Establish clear communication channels between event organisers and speakers, such as email, dedicated messaging platforms, or project management tools. Regularly communicate event details, expectations, deadlines, and provide a single point of contact for any questions or concerns.
  2. Thorough Speaker Briefings: Conduct thorough speaker briefings before the event to ensure speakers are well-informed about the event format, audience demographics, time constraints, and any specific guidelines or requirements. Share helpful resources, such as speaker guidelines or presentation templates, to assist them in preparing their content effectively.
  3. Rehearsal and Feedback Sessions: Arrange rehearsal and feedback sessions where speakers can practice their presentations, receive constructive feedback, and refine their delivery. Encourage them to rehearse their content multiple times to build confidence and identify areas for improvement.
  4. Content Review and Enhancement: Offer content review and enhancement support to help speakers refine their presentation materials. Provide suggestions on structure, storytelling techniques, visual aids, and use of multimedia to create engaging and impactful presentations.
  5. Speaker Coaching and Training: Offer tips and techniques to captivate the audience, manage nerves, and deliver compelling presentations. Collaborate with speakers to help them prepare their presentations and practice them. Effective tools like “Before public speaking…” TED talk playlist can be very helpful.
  6. Time Management Assistance: Assist speakers in managing their time effectively during presentations. Offer guidance on structuring their content to fit within allocated time slots, practising pacing, and using visual cues to stay on track.
  7. Offering Makeup Artist Services: Consider providing the option of a makeup artist for speakers. This not only saves time but also boosts confidence.
  8. Robust Technical Support: Ensure a robust technical support system is in place to address any technical issues that may arise during the event. Provide guidance on audio setup, visual aids, screen sharing, and troubleshooting common technical challenges.
  9. Technical Equipment Setup: In case of online participation, guide speakers on setting up their technical equipment for optimal audio and video quality. Provide instructions on selecting a suitable webcam, microphone, and lighting setup. Advise them to test their equipment before the event and make any necessary adjustments. Emphasise the importance of a stable internet connection for uninterrupted communication. Encourage speakers to use a wired connection whenever possible and provide guidelines for minimum bandwidth requirements. Advise them on troubleshooting steps in case of connectivity issues.
  10. Technical Support and Backup Plans: Emphasise the availability of technical support throughout the event. Provide speakers with contact information for technical assistance during online events and encourage them to have backup plans in case of technical issues. Recommend having a backup device or a contingency plan to switch to if needed.
  11. Audience Engagement Strategies: Collaborate with speakers to develop effective audience engagement strategies. Encourage interactive elements such as live polls, Q&A sessions, audience participation activities, or demonstrations to create an engaging and dynamic experience. Educate speakers on interactive tools and techniques to engage the virtual audience. Highlight features such as live polls, Q&A sessions, and chat functionalities. Encourage speakers to actively involve the audience by asking questions, encouraging participation, and responding to inquiries.
  12. Post-Presentation Feedback and Analysis: Collect feedback from attendees and provide speakers with a detailed analysis of their performance. Highlight strengths and areas for improvement, and offer actionable suggestions for future presentations.
  13. Networking and Collaboration Opportunities: Facilitate networking and collaboration opportunities for speakers by connecting them with other industry professionals, event attendees, or potential collaborators. Encourage post-event follow-ups and ongoing relationships.
  14. Accessibility Considerations: Ensure that the event and speaker materials are accessible to individuals with disabilities. Provide closed captioning, sign language interpretation, or alternative formats for visual content to accommodate diverse audience needs.
  15. Recognition and Promotion: Recognise and promote speakers’ contributions before, during, and after the event. Showcase their expertise on event websites, social media platforms, or promotional materials, increasing their visibility and professional reputation.
  16. Recording and Providing Access to Presentations: Recording the speaker’s presentation and making it accessible afterward is a common practice, allowing speakers to review their performance and make improvements.
  17. Speaker Well-being and Self-Care: Promote speaker well-being by emphasising the importance of self-care and stress management. Share resources on techniques like mindfulness, relaxation exercises, or time management to help speakers maintain balance and reduce anxiety.