The events season is still in high gear in mid-November. I attended 5 events over the last 3 days, a major conference last week and 4 different evening events and a breakfast. As I work with event managers, talk to attendees and watch crowd reactions to speakers, there are many takeaways and lessons to be shared. Some lessons are pretty basic, like keeping an eye on the clock:

  • While a good MC is entertaining and informative, you have one primary job, to keep the train running on time. Go the extra mile and remind speakers of their allotted time before they go onstage. Will they have time for questions? Is that time extra or built into their time? Is the train, through no fault of theirs, running late already?
  • Speakers, I know you love to “share the knowledge” but when you are getting the frantic “wrap it up” signal from the MC and event organizers, WRAP IT UP. The attendees have the schedule right in front of them and they know you are going over. You win no fans if you are keeping people from the cocktail hour or lunch.
  • Event managers, double and triple confirm each speaker’s allotted time before they go onstage. An in-demand speaker might have done 20 minutes yesterday, an hour the day before that and may not have internalized your 45-minute request. Also, be clear when you book a speaker. Tell them exactly how long they have on stage so they can plan.
  • Event staff, that program is your bible. If it says that lunch is at 12:15, prepare for the hungry hordes then, not 12:20 or 12:22. When cocktail hour starts at 5 but the bartender doesn’t show up until 5:15, you have a problem.
  • Attendees, you have a responsibility to the clock too. Traffic happens. Your kid’s bus was late. But coming into an event late can be disruptive. While no speaker or event manager likes to see empty seats, you can enter an “already in progress” event without making a big deal about it. If you don’t know, ask which ballroom door leads to the back of the room.

Speakers – want more? See my  post where I provide feedback specifically for speakers.

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