Keep to Time

A lot of time and resources go into event planning. The conference management team work tirelessly putting together a schedule that starts with the event registration right though to the closing Locknote or Gala dinner. It is a well-oiled machine that can be thrown into chaos when speakers run over their allotted presentation time.

All speakers want their message to be heard, but some struggle to condense their topic into the short period of time that the event planner has allocated them. There are essentially three clear rules you must adhere to when managing your speakers:

1) In the stages of planning and booking the speakers for your event, communicate to them how long they have for their session. There is little benefit to a speaker turning up to their session with 120 slides and 5 videos if they only have a 15-minute window. Help them understand the time restraints and that way they can plan their session around the schedule.

2) When booking your guest speaker, let them know how long they have to present. Either book a speaker that can deliver their message in the allotted time, or adjust the schedule to meet the needs of the speaker, where possible. You will not get the best out of any presenter if you spring surprises on them on site, such as having to condense their well rehearsed 90-minute keynote into 45 minutes.

3) Provide your speaker with the resources to help them keep track of time. The use of a small countdown clock/screen well positioned at the base of the stage or utilising an in-room monitor to flash time cards to the speaker, will help to keep all sessions running to time. There are only a select few professional speakers that can pace themselves perfectly to an allotted time without the aid of a fold back timer monitor or timer cards – their focus is on presenting, your focus should be on keeping them on track.

Choose presenters that you can manage and that can deliver messages that fit within in your event structure. Event management companies are often moving heaven and earth to make a square peg fit in a round hole, but as a PCO our job is to ensure everything runs to time.

If you are planning a corporate event, conference or incentive contact Kieran Kennedy of Veritas on

Date posted: 2014-06-02 | posted by: veritase

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