Your Turn Challenge Day4 – teach us something that you love doing
January 22, 2015
I always find admiring to be in the same room with someone who knows so much more than I do. Where I can just sit, listen and absorb everything. I’ve had many of such moments and I hope to have much more.
So if anyone asked what was that I could teach well, I’d without hesitation say, shut up more often than you talk and listen (and speak up after that—or even better, do).
In relatively short career of organizing events, I’ve been enormously lucky to work with some of my heroes and most talented people in the world.
I listened to those people and learnt from them some of the things I’m really good at now.
One of the things I learnt is how important it is to plan every single detail of your event thoroughly. This post is dedicated to one of the not so small details – how to plan and prepare person who will host your event.
Finding the right host and his preparation is one of the key parts for preparing a great event and not less important than preparing the speakers. I’m going to share with you few of my lessons and I hope it will also help you while preparing your conference, dinner party or regular meet-up.
To begin with, everyone will agree that the host is the face of your event and one that attendees will remember most of it.
He definitely is responsible for 50% of your success (no one cares how many hours you’ve spent in working to pull off that amazing experience).
If possible, it is important to include the host into your organizational processes, content creation and community experience as soon as possible. Ask if he has any tips and work on them.
These are important details you should work on with your host:
Event program: introduce your host to the format of the event, your mission, so he can carry the same message you want to deliver to your audience.
Speaker profiles and talking notes: host will have to intro each speaker. Speaker intros should be very informative and not too shallow. Your host should sell your speaker even before him/her getting on the stage. If you can organize short host and speaker meetings once speakers arrive (or during rehearsals), that’s even better – sometimes it will be two of them to come up with the way host is going to introduce the speaker.
Rundown: host must know the onsite program by second and work together with the event producer and stage manager how to make it coherent and amazing experience.
Housekeeping information: when does the registration start, what are the social zones, partners and any any additional events – these are only few details that the host must know. Go with him through every single detail, it definitely won’t be too much. Agree on what information will have to be said on stage.
Rehearsals: you should also include your host to the speaker rehearsals. Speakers get to meet him and if you can rehearse how the host is going to intro him and all the transitions (lights, sound, clicker, speaker intro videos, turning on the slides, etc.), it’s even more perfect.
His own schedule: make host to arrive early (if he’s out of the country) and spend with you (event’s producer and stage manager) at least few days, so you could go through every single detail and make sure you speak the same language. Most often the host’s schedule will look alike with event’s producer’s schedule. It will be two of you together with the production team that will make your event going.
People to meet: these are not only the speakers, maybe there are key team members (like key technicians) or interpreters or partners that the host should meet to get the better sense of the event and make the atmosphere more appealing to the audience. Make sure to put those meetings in his schedule and be there, too.
Make sure to think about every single detail yourself before your host arrives, print all the papers and hand it over to him once he lands. You should have same copies to yourself, too.
Important: when looking for the host, look not only how he looks on stage but also how well he can manage off-guard situations (lights go down, speaker is cancelled—anything can happen) – he should be ready to jump on the stage at any time and make the best use of extra time, so attendees don’t notice anything.
Agree on certain situations and possible solutions before hand.