Blueprint for Successful Meetings - The Technical Side: Part 1
October 2, 2017
by Joseph Lipman, President
Choose Your Technical Team Wisely
Traveling with a technical team, which owes its allegiance to you, is as important as finding the right speakers for your presentations.
The wisdom of this approach becomes even clearer when hosting meetings outside of the US, especially when your speakers are used to American standards and work ethics. If you've ever tried to get a technical staff together in Paris for a rehearsal at 5:00 PM on a Sunday afternoon, or even 7:00 AM on a Monday, you know the hurdles you face.
When you retain your own production company, they become familiar with your speakers, your standard formats, your expectations and above all, the message of your meeting. You can also be sure that you won't show up on the morning of the meeting with 15-year-old equipment, a video projector that isn't bright enough for the audience to see, a screen that's too small, or sound equipment that isn't adequate for your room.
Are you confident you know enough about A/V equipment to be sure your hotel will deliver the right equipment? And if it's not right, are you 'comfortable enough conversing in foreign languages to make last minute changes to fix anything that's not right?
While it's tempting to save a few dollars by using in-house A/V, when compared to the overall cost of your meeting, the cost of hiring a professional production company is not only a wise investment, it's also the best insurance you can possibly buy to be sure your meeting is professionally run.
Design a Standard Template for ALL Presentations
It's easy enough to design a standard template with PowerPoint. When multiple speakers develop their presentations independently, chances are slim you meeting will have a uniform look. Distribute the template to your speakers when assignments are handed out. Set a firm deadline for submission and review, and don't fotget to provide specifications for the color scheme and standard font sizes.
Audiences do not like being read to. This simple fact is often ignored, especially by inexperienced presenters. Review each section for content, cohesiveness, and technical accuracy. Threre's nothing worse than a guest speaker who shows up at the last minute, with incomplete information, inadvertent disclosures or contradictory points. The first time you don't check evert slide might be your last.
Keep slides simple and presntations as bried as possible. Your slide deck should only contain the highlights of each speaker's talk. It's not necessary to have a bullet point for every point made. After all, if your audience could read the entire presentation, they really don't need to hear the speaker, would they?