Part of your role is to help the speakers at your meeting to shine. Here are some tips.
Rehearse your speakers in front of an audience, not an empty room. This will make them more comfortable and offer an opportunity for feedback.
Alert them to vocal fillers (Um, Uh, etc.) These can be distracting. Remind your speaker instead to take a breath, pause, and then continue.
Repeat instructions again and again. It sounds simple, but details can quickly be forgotten when someone takes the stage.
Keep it conversational. Remind presenters that they are really just having a conversation with the audience. They know the material and can deliver it one on one. This is the same thing—just with a few more people!
Review the slides. Of course, the speaker will review the PowerPoints for typos and style, but also make sure they read well on the big screens and confidence monitors, and that the type is big enough to see from the back of the room.
Do a dry run on stage. Practicing in an office is not the same as being up high and in the spotlight. Don’t skip this important step.
Have water handy. Have a bottle of room temperature water on the lectern. Ice water can sometimes cause a speaker to cough.
Use confidence monitors. These are the large screens at the front of the stage that only the speaker can see (also called teleprompters). They keep speakers from looking over their shoulders to see the slides.
Always have a timer. Not a watch or a cellphone. It will keep your presenter from running too long or short and can’t go off in the middle of the speech.
Choose the mic that’s right. If your speaker is a “lectern hugger,” there’s no need for a lavaliere, but that is definitely the best choice for those “walk and talkers.”
Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTSM, is president and chief strategist, Strategic Meetings & Events, New York