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On the actual day of the event, there is a list of things you can do to ensure a good keynote presentation. Be at the location early. You will be able to solve any unforeseen problems before the participants show up. If it is a large event, make people fill the room starting from the front row. People tend to fill up starting from the back because they don’t want to seem too aggressive.
When the speaker arrives, it is important to greet him/her and make them feel welcome. It is not a good start if the speaker has to look for the person in charge with no one to welcome them. Most importantly – it ensures a better experience for your audience as well.
“Well, I guess you’ll start when you’re ready?”
Don’t forget to give the speaker a good introduction before the talk.
Unfortunately, many speakers are met with the following: “Well, I guess you’ll start when you’re ready?”. However, the mood of the crowd will be much better if the speaker is introduced by the organizer. This also gives you the opportunity to ensure a common thread that matches the aim of the event. Another well-known issue concerns being on time – not only when it comes to practical things but indeed also the presentation itself. If one bit runs over time, there is no shame in asking to round off. It shows that you have respect for the audience and their time as well as any following speakers.
#1 Arrive early to take care of any unforeseen problems
#2 Welcome the speaker on arrival so he/she can focus on the presentation
#3 Give a nice introduction of the speaker so the audience get the most out of it
#4 Stay on schedule and control the different elements if necessary
Create the right atmosphere
Regardless of the quality of the presentation or how receptive the audience is, you should never underestimate the atmosphere in a room – it is crucial.
#1 Do not underestimate fresh air – check if you need to open a window or couple of doors, especially on longer days
#2 Focus on the positive rather than the negative. Show your appreciation to the people that showed up and don’t talk about the ones who didn’t
#3 Ask the audience to turn off their phones or put them on silent. Although people know to do this, a reminder will help sharpen their senses and prevent any unwanted situations
#4 If you already know that fewer participants than expected will show up, remove the chairs that you don’t need. Only you will know that there should have been more
#5 A talk cannot cure a hangover! If your event lasts more than one day, and there happens to be a party the night before, even the best speaker won’t be able to cure a dreadful headache
#6 The lighting can create an amazing atmosphere. Should the room be dark, light or varying?
#7 Sit among the audience. Most organizers stand along the side of the room or move around – this could distract the audience. It is much better to have a seat that you can easily access
Closing and evaluation
After the presentation, it is important to round off and evaluate so the audience remembers the main points. Some speakers do it themselves, sometimes a moderator summarizes the key takeaways, and in some instances, material will be forwarded to the audience members. As long as it works for your type of event. Talk to the participants on the day of the event and get their perspective of what worked and what they liked best – maybe get them to share what points or talks they found the most useful.
If it makes sense to you, you can evaluate the event a few days later by sending a simple email, a questionnaire or by asking the participants over a cup of coffee, if for example they’re your colleagues.
After the talk, you can contact the speaker to evaluate the presentation and to hear about their experience of the event. They experience lots of events and might be able to help with any questions you have in order for you to improve your future events.
#1 Ask people for their reactions on the day of the event. It gives an immediate picture of their feelings and impressions
#2 Consider if it makes sense to evaluate the event the following days. Usually you will get slightly different feedback focused on key takeaways rather than feelings
#3 You can contact the speaker to get feedback from an experienced person on the outside
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