We started to talk last week about how to get started as a professional speaker and tips for giving your business a boost. The critical point is to be professional, polished, and comfortable in all situations.
A few years back, I was privileged to be a part of a keynote. It was amazing to see how she addressed a crowd of thousands and made me feel like one of the few. I was horrified to see her walking on stage in heels and with steps so dimly lit that I didn’t think she would fall. If she had stumbled, her talk would have been destroyed, and she would have been embarrassed. This is the lesson: ask the room crew (stairs, lighting) how they set up for the event.
These are the top 10 questions event planners should ask before speaking engagements.
Can you obtain a copy of the recording, and will the event be recorded? It’s also essential to confirm with the organizer if they are willing to share the recording and if you have permission to post any or all of it on your site or social media.
What dress code is required for this event? Business casual events need you to dress slightly more than usual but not too formal. You should dress on the same level as the other attendees if the event is black tie.
Are there any networking/casual events you can attend before, after, or both? This is something that very few speakers would ask for. You can get a feel for how people interact and how it relates to your talk by attending a casual event beforehand. You can also network with attendees afterward to continue engaging with them.
Is there a podium? While we don’t recommend that you stand behind a stage during your entire talk, it is beneficial to have a “homebase,” somewhere to place your water glass or take notes.
Is there a microphone? If you have a lapel microphone, ensure that it is easily clipped to your clothing.
How will Q&A be conducted? Ask how much time is needed for questions. If there aren’t any questions, it is a good idea to prepare “bonus” content.
Is there technical support? This is especially important if you are using a microphone or doing slide presentations in large rooms.
Ask if it is possible to obtain a list. Ask if you can get a list of attendees. If not, offer to give away business cards. Just remember to adhere to spam laws and confirm that your first contact with attendees has their consent to continue emailing.
How is the room laid out? What number of people will be there? Are you on the same level as attendees, or will there be a podium? Although most of this won’t impact your talk, it can help you to get a feel for the room.
Are you able to get in the room before time? Is it difficult to stop the session? Are you able to mix with people as they enter and leave the room? This is an excellent opportunity to exchange business cards.
Hence, why all the questions?
You must be prepared. You’ll feel more at ease if you have all the information you need before you go.
Second, speaking engagements are not one-off events. You have many opportunities to reach your target audience.
What are your questions before attending an event? Your stories are welcome! You can join us on our blog or on our Facebook page. Need some help with your message? Contact us for a consultation. We would be delighted to give you some helpful tips and tricks to help plan your next talk.
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