You just can’t have a successful event without successful speakers. They can bring your agenda to life and engage your audience on a personal level that can’t be replaced by any other meeting element. From the keynote speeches in general session to the breakouts, improving the effectiveness and impact of the speakers at an event leads to real and meaningful results. This leads to an event with increased impact and value as well as one that generates a much greater ROI. As a meeting planner, you have an incredible opportunity to elevate the performance of the speakers at your event. Though you may not work directly on the development of each speech or presentation, you can help create a plan for the success of every speaking opportunity. Here are 5 quick musts for great speeches at your next event.
Engage & Energize
The process begins with a clear strategy. Every event must engage the audience by offering a clear vision that appeals to their interests. It must empower the audience with the information and direction needed to achieve this vision. And finally it must energize them with a clear call to action.
A Winning Theme
Great event themes don’t just sum up the purpose or topic of an event, they also guide and support the development of the speeches and presentations. To work in this manner, a theme should represent the overall vision of the event or organization. It then can become a verbal shorthand that speakers can use to share this vision with their audience.
An Experience Maker
Audiences don’t just listen to speeches and presentations, they experience them. Just like every other aspect of your event, including the lodging, meals and social activities and entertainment, the speeches contribute to the overall experience. Great speech experiences lead to a great event experience.
Messages that Matter
Speeches are made of messages: primary messages, which are the conclusions and secondary messages that support those conclusions via facts, data, arguments, comparisons and stories. Speakers often spend the majority of their time discussing the support and never really get to the takeaways. Make sure your speakers can clearly identify their primary messages. Try saying to your speaker; Pretend you only have three minutes to speak and can only make five declarative sentences. Boom - these are the primary messages.
What's the difference between a dull panel and a great one? Conflict or, more specifically, healthy conflict. Differences in ideas and perspectives that lead to real dialogue, real insights and a real experience for your audience. This means interaction between panelists who may not agree with each other - and that's okay. But it's critical to choose the right person to moderate. Make sure he or she knows their role is to guide discussion to a conclusion that has relevance to the audience.