Nowadays, speakers at corporate events must be more than simply glorified presenters. Modern audiences need some interaction to truly engage in the event these days.
The speaker is usually the face of the event and, in our experience in NY / NJ event planning, if he/she fails to do a good job, then the audience will likely associate that failure with the entire event.
That’s why whether you’re speaking yourself or you’ve got a speaker, there are some things to keep in mind to ensure that the audience stays interested and immersed throughout the event.
Basic public speaking guidelines all apply.
First and foremost, the speaker must know the audience. Who will be attending? What are their interests? What are they expecting to take away from this event?
It’s imperative that the speaker know what interests or concerns the audience beforehand so that he/she can create customized content that attendees will genuinely connect with.
The speaker must fully understand the mission beforehand too. Incentive meetings have a different goal than employee appreciation events, for example, and the speaker should limit the scope of the speech as well to avoid being too vague. Also, visuals aids should be used supplementally. You don’t want to let them take over.
From there…PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Whether you get in front a mirror, record yourself, etc., the point is it’s best to run through the entire presentation. For one thing, you need to get the timing just right.
If there’s a stage or platform, decide beforehand on a couple of spots you can move to. Trust us, as longtime NJ / NY event planners, we’ve seen plenty of speakers end up wandering around aimlessly while making their speech, and it can be a distraction.
From there, use index cards, if need be, test all equipment beforehand, and bring an emergency kit in case of technical difficulties, with items like back-ups of your content, spare adapters, etc.
Use social media before, during, and after the presentation.
Social media is a great event planning tool that has benefits in all phases, and nowadays, any speaker should have some presence on social media, meaning they should stay relatively active and have a decent following.
Speakers can use social media pre-event to promote, interact with the audience, and build anticipation. During the event, they can follow the event hashtag and interact with the audience directly, for example, to keep the discussion going.
Post-event, event speakers can review the tweets and posts from during the presentation and address any remaining questions or concerns. That way, there’s one more chance to impress attendees and build anticipation for future events.
Tell a story, and give away content.
The truth is, you can get all the above right, but if the speaker isn’t charismatic or compelling, the presentation could still fail.
That’s why the choice of speaker is so crucial. The speaker must be willing to go above and beyond. Yes, he/she needs to be confident and passionate, but he/she should also be a natural storyteller as well.
If the speaker can weave the mission and message into a captivating story that they can deliver enthusiastically, the presentation and therefore, the event, can be a real success.
Other ways the speaker can take their presentation to another level is to hold a Q&A session afterwards to address remaining questions or concerns, and, of course, give away content.
Everyone likes free stuff and if the speaker’s smart, he/she will give away content that not only pleases the audience, but also helps tell their story.
About Us: Absolute Events by Corrine has been performing first-rate meeting & event planning services in New Jersey and New York for over 17 years. Whether it’s a corporate conference or meeting or a social event, Absolute Events by Corrine does it all so that our clients can be guests at their own events.