How To Coordinate an Event
By Milo Shapiro, CEO of IMPROVentures
previous two articles,
Itís wise to say something like, ďGo ahead and ask me everything you want to know about the event. I'll get back to you with any answers I donít have right now. When youíre done, I may have a few more questions for you.Ē This is wise in two ways. First, it allows him to take his notes in the order he is used to, but you still get to see if any points were left undiscussed by the end of your exchange. Second, you get to hear if he asks you any questions youíd like to add to your checklist for the future (and if you do, write me at IMPROVentures.com/contact so I can add them to mine!)
The following is my
checklist and I feel pretty confident that, by the time all of these are
answered, I'll know what I'm walking into Ė ready to do a great job focusing on
your audience and not an unexpected dilemma. I've flipped the questions around
to be your statement of facts rather than questions since you are the one
supplying these answers (even if he didnít ask these questions!). You can
just say something like, "I'm glad I was able to answer your questions.
Here are some more facts that might be helpful,"...and then finish this list
with him. Parenthesized text shows where you'll likely be choosing
one of the options I've provided.
► Our ( company / organization ) is called _________________ and our website is _________________________ so you can learn more about us before the event.
► The date of the meeting is ____________________.
► The city of the
meeting is __________ which is ___ number of hours ahead/behind you
[Yes, the speaker may know this, but donít risk it Ė especially when dealing with Arizona.]
meeting starts at __________ ( am / pm ). Your speech will start at _______ (
am / pm ).
[It's good to know if we're almost at the beginning or three hours into the meeting!]]
► The expected length of the program is ______ minutes. Although exact timing is wonderful, know that (itís fine if you go over just a bit / itís better to finish a bit early than to run over at all).
► The fee weíve agreed upon is ___________. Transportation, lodging, travel expenses, and copying fees will (also / not) be paid by the client.
► Regarding a meal at this
event, ( you are invited / you are not invited / there is no meal involved ).
[Itís always awkward for the speaker to try to guess if he's invited, even though more than half the time he is. Either way is fine...we just need to know.]
► Seating arrangements will be ( tables / rows / U-shape ). There ( will / will-not ) be an aisle up the middle.
► The approximate audience size will be ___________ people.
► The ratio of men to
women will probably be something like ____ to _____.
[Yes, this does sometimes affect how we present things]
► The age range of the
audience will be from ________ to ________
[A humorous reference to Marlo Thomas fell flat once when I realized that most people under 35 had no idea who she was]
► There (
will / wonít ) be a lectern for the speakers notes and to stand behind.
[This may or may not be important to the speaker. Also note: Lectern is the right name, not podium. A podium is something you stand upon]
► The speaker will be ( at floor level / on a raised platform / higher up on a stage area ) .
► Regarding amplification, the speaker will be provided ( no amplification / a mike built into a lectern / a wired mike / a wireless mike / a lavaliere that he can clip on for maximum freedom).
► The speaker ( needs / doesnít need ) for the client to provide ( a laptop / screen / projector ) for a Powerpoint presentation.
► The laptop will be
advanced by ( a remote the client will provide / the speaker manually pressing a
key on the laptop, which will have to be on the stage )
[Whenever possible, do provide a remote. Even if the speaker doesn't ask for it, no speaker looks better when they cannot move because they have to hover over their laptop. Remotes are now under $20 on eBay, can run on one AA battery, and last for years. It's a great investment.]
► Regarding handouts, they will be (copied by the client / copied by the speaker / unnecessary).
► When the speaker arrives, he should ask to meet _________________________ from the group.
► In terms of
set-up, the speaker ( will / wonít ) have access to the room before going on
because the general session ( will / wonít ) have already started.
[This can be critical in terms of set-up! It can be a nightmare to set up equipment or pass out handouts while the previous speaker is still on. Knowing this may motivate the speaker to come earlier or have certain aspects set up by whomever from the group will prepare the room for the day]
► The speakerís introduction will be given by ______________________ and he will
be made aware of the proper pronunciation of the speakerís name
[itís always an effort to smile when Iím introduced as Mee-lo Shay-pyro.]
► It would be ( okay / unacceptable ) for the speaker to offer related products for extended learning and support at the event from the back of the room.
► It would be ( okay / unacceptable ) for the speaker to camcorder the event .
► It would be ( okay /
unacceptable ) for the speaker to bring up to _________ number of guests to hear
[While this may seem odd, you might really win over a speakerís loyalty if he knew he could have three or four colleagues, staff members, or potential clients see him in action.
► For more information about the event , you may contact _________________ and ________________ from the group. Here are their phone numbers, email addresses, and job titles: ___________________
Please refer all questions to me and I will see that you get your answers.
[When possible, itís very nice for the speaker to be able to hear facts and bounce ideas directly off the person who cares most about the meeting, but we know itís not always possible])
While there will always be some needs that are specific to a given speaker, this checklist should give you a solid start on knowing that the speaker portion of your event is well in hand. Feel free to email me any comments, ideas, and horror stories from the past.