When your day goes awry
Jeremy Jacobs, Conference and Event presenter
Picture the scene… You’ve managed to book the ideal speakers and the perfect venue. Everything is going like clockwork. Bookings have been fantastic. You’ve got almost a thousand delegates flying in from around the world to get the very latest updates and information about their subject. The hall is filling up fast and the morning’s presenters have texted that they’re on their way. This event is going to be broadcast live to ten other venues around the world.
Suddenly the day goes into a black hole. Two of the presenters are stuck on a broken down train and won’t be able to get to you this morning. The techies have just come over to say the satellite hook-up has failed and they don’t know what to do.
Yes, these things have happened to me. The clients are looking at me in desperation. They know that their reputation is on the line. The delegates are senior, expensive people and have travelled a long way. This is where the best conference hosts and MCs are sorted from the rest. They can avoid a total meltdown. It comes down to knowledge and experience.
The key is to be prepared. If you have a host who has done their homework they will have planned for these types of situations, some of which are more common than you might imagine. If they’re doing their job properly the problem might only appear as a blip or not be noticed at all.
So how would you cope? What steps would you have to take to in order to make sure you start on time? What is your Plan “B” – as an event professional you do have one, don’t you – and it needs to be well rehearsed.
From years of experience I always expect the worst and plan accordingly. Here are five things you should always do in liason with your conference host:
1) Get all the presenters’ notes and slides and notes well in advance of the conference.
2) Get there early and make sure that the technical side of things is working properly and that there is a back-up or other option.
3) See if you can rearrange the presenter’s slots. The afternoon speakers may be staying close by.
4) Organise teams for breakout sessions.
5) Keep your audience informed on an ongoing basis.
Yours and the event host’s reputations are intertwined. So work with the best. A great MC is like a cross between the concierge at a 5* hotel and a famous conductor. They have the knowledge, ability, contacts and plan. Combined this with the hours of rehearsal and fine-tuning and the result is a successful and memorable event.
Now one of the UK’s “go to” corporate presenters, Jeremy Jacobs talks on the thorny subject of business-to-business sales and how salespeople with a variety of experience can sell more by understanding how buyer’s minds work. Jeremy’s authentic business edge and ability to motivate, entertain and educate means he is also in demand as a conference host at sales kick-off meetings and award ceremonies.