We all know how important RSVPs are to an event. They help to determine how much F&B and staff will be required. It speaks to the effectiveness of the event marketing, if the needs of the industry are being met and if the content provided is of value.
And then, there are the No Shows (NS) for the General Session (GS). For a meeting planner, this is heartbreak. Make your General Session an event they won’t want to miss; here are some great tips for you!
Space and Set Up: Work with the venue to create the best set up scenario for your General Session. Make sure the stage is visible from all areas of the room, that presenters can be seen, and that there is plenty of room for the all elements necessary for a fabulous event!
Rehearsal: All stage participants must attend the rehearsals. There are those that feel they are quite polished and feel no need to rehearse, but insist they do anyway. Explain that the devil is in the details – when to enter and leave the stage, knowledge of the flow of the event, preferences on podium placement, ensuring slide decks are up, loaded and ready. All such details can make or break the stage presence; therefore rehearsals are to be mandatory.
Content: Speakers should provide presentation and content information well in advance, and then commit to alert staff to any changes before the event. This will ensure that content is not only timely, but diverse. An audience will bore easily and find a reason to leave if they’ve heard it before or are being served up the same information over and over again.
Presentation: Presenters may require help with their presentations. Do they look comfortable on stage? Do they use too many filler phrases? Do they need to better project their voice? Are their slides visually appealing and easy to read? Has someone proofed all the slides? All such elements should be remedied well ahead of time through coaching and graphical assistance.
A/V and other effects: Can everyone in the room see the speakers or should they be projected on side screens? Is the lighting adequate? Are there enough cameras, projectors and other such A/V needs?
Teleprompter/Confidence Monitor: No matter how well seasoned the presenters, one can never be prepared for the momentary lapse, where a presenter forgets where they are in the program. Teleprompters are necessary for all! Make it a standard practice for you general sessions.
CTA: The audience should never be left wondering why they bothered showing up. They should be left with a sense of purpose or a next step. CTAs (Call to Actions) are a definite!
Need someone to bounce around some GS ideas with you? Contact me! I’d love to help you find the perfect space for your next GS, so you can avoid the NS.