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A good indicator of a successful talk at a major event is the number of data points provided by speakers to event organizers during the journey. Think of a slalom skier ⛷ that has to pass all gates from start to finish to win. This blog post covers 17 questions you should expect from organizers at various stages of the preparations, and anything less is signaling you both are both making shortcuts.
Facts making organizers comfortable before signing you as a virtual/hybrid speaker
As part of the initial speaker outreach, you can expect questions to validate if you are qualified for the event at hand. Three areas stand out here:
- Virtual speaking references – examples of previous virtual performances.
- Signature topics – your home turf and the areas represent low preparation efforts for you.
- Digital presence – to validate if and how you drive the promotion part of the job and the digital audience you will bring to the party.
This step corresponds to the draft master deck you would use as a base for talks in the world of physical events.
The promotion and planning journeys start as soon as you have committed
As soon as you are confirmed, organizers will ask you for the basics in getting the event promotion and the preparations moving. These four is hard to live without:
- 75-100 word biography – for digital and printed programs.
- Professional headshot – Pick one where your personality comes across and where you smile.
- Speaker release form – the contract between you, your company, and the organizers can use visuals, pictures, and videos. An excellent release form also covers which derivative assets organizers plan to create.
- Critical contacts for scheduling, content development, sign-off, and promotions – well managed, this is an excellent time-saver for speakers.
This step was often limited to a bio, a headshot, and a release form covering your slides in the physical event world.
Your commitment to investing X amount of time in preparations
Most professional organizers ask for a commitment to invest X hours into preparations to reach the target quality level. Not just asking for the actual delivery time and hoping you have a clear idea of what it will take. A simple one-pager with key preparations steps, rough time estimates for each step, and which you consider necessary for the talk at hand is excellent as a base for a mutual handshake.
This topic rarely comes up for physical events as speakers and their team are very familiar with preparation steps.
Crisp production fundamentals, tools, process steps and content in play
Expect these questions soon after sign-up when organizers start planning the production of your specific session.
- Target production environment – will you use your equipment or a kit provided by organizers, and who can troubleshoot at the speaker end.
- Visual support – such as slides, pictures, or videos integrated into the final production.
- Questions for panels and fireside chats – a first draft is framing what the session should cover.
This step corresponds to sending draft slides for a physical event.
Input to promotion job required 4-6 weeks before showtime
Virtual/Hybrid events require more involvement of the speakers in the promotion part of the event, and both to attract a live audience and extend reach with recorded sessions after the event. Competition between virtual events is stiff, and great speaker promotions can make a big difference.
- Session title – attracting an audience to your session
- Synopsis – 3-5 sentence summary of what your audience will get out of the session for the event program.
- Social accounts – company accounts and the personal accounts you use for professional purposes and where the audience can reach you (LinkedIn, Twitter, E-Mail, etc.)
- Interface for personal and corporate account activation – whom to forward all the social media assets to for activation at speakers end
The promotion part for physical events lands more on the organizers and their team.
The live / recording fundamentals securing a professional delivery
Three significant milestones turn your detailed plans into perfect performances:
- Content freeze – when all talk tracks or visual input is frozen 🥶 and ready to go.
- Dress rehearsal – final run-through of the planned session with moderator and co-speakers.
- Recording or Live delivery – the delivery, with or without retakes.
These steps are fewer physical events where a speaker can bring their final slides and deliver on stage.
Questions for you and your team
- Which questions do we, as event organizers, ask speakers today?
- Which of these questions can I, as a speaker, prepare answers to in advance?
- What tools templates do we use to capture/share all required information?
- What can we do to make this data capturing/sharing easy for the speakers?
Additional reading suggestions
- Six questions to ask a keynote speaker before your next virtual event [BLOGPOST] – by MacKenzie Edwards, eSpeakers
- Best practice questions to ask speakers for a seamless online event [FORM] – by Brown Unversity
- 9 steps for preparing virtual event speakers [BLOGPOST] – by Rachel Rappaport, Bizzabo
- Briefing your speakers and reviewing presentation slides [BLOGPOST] – by WECAN
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