New to organising an event? Not to worry! While we can’t assure you that everything will go according to plan all of the time, we can definitely help make sure that it runs smoothly for the most part. Let us teach you to observe the tell tale signs and warnings that might just help you save your event from any major hiccups.
What is your audience telling you? While they often do not say very much, take a look from time to time and notice their non-verbal cues. Noticing subtle changes in facial expressions and body posture can give you a good indication on how everything is going. Learn to remedy the situation to not only surprise but delight them from time to time! Do not wait for the post event feedback to find out that something has gone wrong, stay sharp and be vigilant at all times! Having an action plan for different situations and backup plans is definitely a must.
Speakers’ and Moderators’ Expressions
Looking at the other side of the communication flow, invited speakers’ panellists’ and moderators’ can give very useful information as well! These people are the ones viewing the audience directly and picking up cues from them which guides them in the flow of their session. With a wealth of knowledge up their sleeves, make presenting as easy as possible for them. You definitely would not want their knowledge to be drowned out during the delivery by distractions and things that go wrong.
Put yourselves in their shoes and understand their worries. Give them only information that is useful and will make presenting easier. Who is the audience? What sort of tools are at their disposal to engage the audience? How much time do they have? What is the context of the meeting? Giving them these information and providing fallback plans for them will help them put on a more polished and professional presentation. After all, if they look good, you look good.
Keeping on track and preventing overruns is not only an indication good planning, but also excellent management. Sessions that overrun can have a snowball effect on the later programs, which can be disastrous if you are having a live broadcast from an overseas location, an important guest speaker or even your attendees’ catching a flight.
If you are running behind, do not be afraid to reduce the duration of sessions or breaks. Set your objectives for each session and make sure there is sufficient time to achieve them without having to prolong it unnecessarily with activities that might not add value. Make sure that you consider
Having too much excess timing also shows a lack of planning and management. Throw in activities like Q&A and Polls during the session to really engage the audience. Having a two way exchange not only facilitates discussion but also makes the audience feel like a part of the proceedings.
Looking at the Bigger Picture
At the end of the day, always have a Macro view of the entire event and understand how each session affects one another before making any major decision to reduce or extend sessions while at the same time having a Micro view and an eye for detail on the individual sessions.
No matter what the situation is, resourcefulness is key if you want to survive in this industry. Learn to anticipate, cooperate and adapt. If things go wrong, solve the problem at hand instead of playing the blame game. With experience, you will develop the sharpness and anticipation to see things before they happen and the resourcefulness to correct them on the spot!