4 Tips to Success for Event Planning with a High-Profile Speaker
So you’ve set the date. You’ve secured your dream speaker for your event, and the RVSP’s are flooding in. If you’re beginning to feel a touch of nerves, take a deep breath. Event planning with a high-profile speaker is a privilege that few can boast about. It’s normal to experience some anxiety around a high-pressure event. You want your keynote to be a success, and so do we. That’s why we’re sharing our insider secrets for hosting a seamless event with a high-profile speaker.
Even audio visual experts rely on plenty of advanced planning to see their projects through to completion. Take a look at our checklist for ensuring high-profile speakers receive the audience they deserve and feel confident in your event.
1.) Get a Head Start on Event Planning
Take it from the pros; planning is everything. The earlier you can get started planning your event, the smoother your event will go. Don’t leave the fine details until the week before. We’re firm believers in the value of focused communication.
This doesn’t mean you need to call your keynote speaker each week. Set time aside for a preliminary planning session. We recommend doing this at least two months out from the main event. Put together a concise agenda beforehand, so you can keep the meeting on track and efficient, respecting your speaker’s time. Bring your internal team together weekly to check in on logistics and updates. This is a great time to appoint a stage manager to oversee the day-of logistics and keep everyone running smoothly on a tight schedule. Remember; your talent may not remember the order of events. Keynote speakers often expect prompts and support from stage managers to guide the process. Lastly, host a rehearsal with your guest to ensure everyone is on the same page.
The power of targeted communications is the glue that holds a successful event together.
2.) Practice Intentionality Alongside Organization
Intentionality in planning is the biggest asset in professional event planning. Organizational abilities are a close second.
Ask yourself (and your team) what is the end goal for each stage of the process. For example, is your focus going to be on engaging a hybrid audience while allowing a level of interactivity in discussion panels? Or are you building the best AV tech resources to conduct a lecture format address? These questions will drive how you structure your team and allocate talent and resources. Keeping intentionality at the forefront, you can begin to create a well-organized master list of priorities and deadlines.
3.) Get in a Rehearsal (or Two, or Three…)
Every great production needs a dress rehearsal. Go over every aspect of your event from seating and introductions to concluding statements. Consider how much time will be needed for questions, who will introduce whom, and run through a timed rehearsal to ensure you’re hitting all of your marks without running over time. We also recommended having a plan in case there are no questions or comments. Have your team prepare a few questions to initiate audience engagement or to fill the time left for the Q&A period.
Dress rehearsal should always include your AV pros to ensure visual and audio elements are playing well with the entire run-through. Your AV partners will ensure audio visual quality is on point prior to the engagement. Practice, practice, practice is the name of the game when it comes to event planning!
4.) Event Planning 101: Have a Backup Plan
The unexpected can happen to the best of us. From weather to tech failures, every event is a bit unique. Make sure you know what to do when the unexpected occurs.
Learn the art of flexibility. This includes planning for contingencies in both scheduling and technology. High-profile speakers often throw a lot of last-minute curveballs at their events team. Be prepared to manage a change in airline schedules, delays in schedules, or updated content. For example, it’s a good idea to have one team member on standby with a backup plan if your keynote speaker is running late.
Building the best possible AV resources for your speaker will allow them to deliver the best version of their presentation. Ensure you communicate your speaker’s technical desires and requirements to the AV team so that they know what resources are required of them. Make sure you give the speaker access to all tech resources so you will gain those show elevating elements.
It’s vital to back up all important information in a content dossier. Store this in a central location and make your teammates aware of this backup. Itemize your content and use placeholders for any elements that may no longer be available such as live stream videos. Music is a classic insert for situations like these. Pivoting to a backup AV solution will allow the show to go on, even if your original content is no longer available.
Be sure to have a single point of contact on your speaker’s team that you can immediately reach out to in case of issues or emergencies. This may be an executive assistant, talent manager, or event producer. This supports streamlined communication as your team works directly with theirs.
Looking for more tips on hosting a keynote speaker? Contact our team today!