10 Tips for Coordinating Effective Speakers at a Press Conference or Small Public Event

Marriott Launch Event - Speaker Lineup

Want your event speakers to entertain and engage your audience? Want a good event flow without people literally or figuratively tripping over themselves? Follow these 10 Tips:

− Start with an event overview that specifies the positioning of the event, goal(s), who the attendees are, brief run-of-show, list of speakers and their main speaking points. Share this with all speakers at the beginning of planning, so they understand the goals and flow of the event

− Share everyone’s more specific speaking points or speeches with all speakers, so each knows what the others are covering – this helps avoid redundancy

− Speakers, in general, unless they are keynote speakers at more formal events, do not need to speak for more than five minutes each (three minutes is even better!)

− If you have an opportunity to coach speakers, review their speeches and ask them to replace clichés with more original language

− Create a flow that allows some of your speakers to introduce the speaker following them. This helps with the event length. For example, you don’t want the mayor to have to introduce a councilperson, so insert another speaker in between the two

− Make sure all presentations include at least one personal story, association or anecdote. This is what will resonate with the audience most

− Try to discourage any direct reading of a speech or speaking points. They should take the time to memorize it, so they can refer to notes vs. reading them

− If you have to seat a number of people on a stage, label the seats with their names. This avoids scrambling to figure out who should sit where when they’re already in front of an audience

− Make sure your speakers know if there’s a podium or not. Some count on it for their notes; and if they don’t have a podium, make sure their notes are on small cards (unless there’s a teleprompter, which there probably won’t be for small events)

− Try, as much as possible, to save any photo opps for the end of the event. It’s not fair to keep your audience waiting while photos are taken in the middle of the presentation. The emcee or leader of the event can invite speakers/recipients of awards or acknowledgements to come back to the stage after the presentations for photos