How to Set the Stage for a Business Speaker

A professional speaker can be the keystone of a business event or one element of a seminar you hold at your business or organization. Once you’ve booked a speaker from a speaker’s bureau, you must stage the event and make sure the speaker has everything necessary to make his or her presentation effective. To make the day run smoothly, take time to prepare the stage for the speaker’s arrival.

Contact the Representatives

The first task on your to-do list to prepare for the speaker’s arrival is to ask the speaker, his bureau or his representatives what is needed for the presentation. Some speakers need only a podium and sound equipment — or not even that if the venue and audience are small enough to carry sound. Others have multimedia presentations and will need projectors and computer equipment. Some will need spotlights; others will be presenting in casual or outdoor environments and won’t need any special lighting. You can also ask if the speaker requires certain foods or accommodations.

You may discover the speaker and his representatives will take care of some or all of the required equipment themselves. You can help them get a good idea of the equipment they need by providing the estimated number that will be in the audience, the size of the venue and a list of any equipment that might already be available in the venue.

Choose a Suitable Stage Area

Once you’ve discussed the speaker’s needs with his representatives, you need to choose a suitable venue if you haven’t already. If the speaker is giving a presentation to a small group of employees, a conference room in your office may prove adequate. However, if you expect attendance to be in the dozens or even hundreds, you’ll need a larger venue. See if there’s a suitable theater nearby that takes bookings. A conference or convention center, a large gym or even a large area outside could also work. If the audience is small, you could book a reception hall at a restaurant.

If you stage the event outdoors, you should have a backup venue in case of bad weather. If your venue is one that’s not usually set up for presentations — an outdoor area or a gym, for example — you may need to bring chairs for the audience and a stage for the speaker.

Rent Equipment

If your speaker doesn’t provide his own equipment, you’ll have to provide it. A theater or conference center may have the sound, lighting, and projection equipment you need ready to go. If you improvise and turn a place such as a gym or an outdoor area into your stage, you’ll have to rent or purchase the equipment. If you don’t have anyone familiar with running the equipment on staff, or you expect to have these events often, purchasing is a wiser choice.

Hire a Multimedia Technician

Even if you’re able to run the sound, visual and lighting equipment on your own — and you need some training to operate more complicated equipment — you probably would prefer to enjoy the fruits of you’re planning and watch the speaker’s presentation. In that case, unless the speaker is providing a multimedia technician team, you should hire one.

If you rent equipment, most often you’ll have the chance to hire a team of technicians to set up, operate and remove the equipment for your event. If the venue already has the necessary equipment, you can often hire a multimedia team to operate it even if you don’t use any of the equipment rental business’s equipment. If the use of equipment is minor — such as a projector in a conference room —someone in your company’s IT department may be useful.

Preparing for a speaker’s arrival isn’t difficult, but if you wait until the last minute, you’ll be scrambling and panicking the day of your event. Your speaker may even be unable to give his or her presentation if you don’t properly prepare. Plan well, and the day will go smoothly, allowing you to focus on the event’s success.

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