Top Tips: Keeping Your Speakers on Schedule
Have you ever experienced the anxiety of seeing an irritated CEO waiting offstage? What about watching audience members leave a presentation to head to the airport? If so, you already know the value of keeping a speaker on schedule. But it’s easier said than done.
Here are three tips to ensure more effective speaker time management:
- Set the Expectation
Thoroughly communicate expectations to all involved. Be clear on the event timing and format. Outline your speaker’s presentation needs to the client.
- Have Speakers Arrive Early
For morning presentations, ask speakers to arrive the night before. Local speakers should arrive at least one hour prior to their start.
- Signal the Speaker
Place a clock or timer on the podium. Use a timing light in the back of the room.
Green light = continue speaking.
Yellow light = 5 minute warning.
Red light = 1 minute warning.
Flashing red light = Get the hook!
Prepare cue cards — the low tech version of the timing light.
If a speaker is running over, ask your emcee to walk out onto the stage. This is usually enough to prompt speakers to wrap up. By keeping your meeting flowing smoothly, you will earn accolades from your client and the audience!
By Sherry Johnson
Sherry Johnson has been in the meetings and events industry for over 20 years. She has managed events in more than 25 countries on three continents. She is the director of sales and business development for Kinsley, a meeting management company in Littleton, CO. Sherry resides in Phoenix, AZ.