Here’s the new speaker management checklist every planner needs to prepare virtual speakers for success on event day. 

Virtual speaker management brings challenges that don’t exist in the face-to-face event world. Will all speakers be able to access the platform on event day? Will slides be available and will speakers know how to advance them? Will the speaker’s home video and audio setup perform ok? Is something embarrassing going to pop up in the background when they present from home? Just as with face-to-face events, taking the right steps to prepare virtual speakers mitigates many of these concerns.

speaker management checklist

Choose your event tech

  • Choose an event platform early in your planning
  • Decide which speakers will be live streamed versus prerecorded
  • Choose any incremental software for prerecording and/or live streaming
  • Document platform requirements (what computer, OS, browser etc. are must-haves?) for speakers & slides

Organize & prepare

  • Prepare speaker hardware kits for live streaming or recording from their homes
  • Prepare an onboarding guide for speakers summarizing the program 
  • Create a shared folder (Dropbox, Google drive, Box etc.) where each speaker can upload their content
  • Add all instructions, software, templates and other info to these folders so everything speakers will need is in one place

“90% of how well the talk will go is determined before the speaker steps on the platform.” – Somers White

Plan support staff & content

  • Designate a technical support person to answer speakers’ setup questions
  • Line up a video editor to edit raw prerecord videos
  • Design a speaker slides template in ppt or google slides for consistent program branding
  • Design any graphics, bumpers, lower thirds to add to pre record videos

Create milestones & tracking

  • Build a timeline with major milestones such as:

Attend onboarding

Ship speaker kit 

Environment setup checked

Recording made

Final slides turned in

Edited video reviewed & approved

Attend rehearsal 

  • Set up milestone tracking for each speaker
  • Track each step as its completed

“It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.”
– Mark Twain

Onboard speakers

  • Send personal welcome emails confirming presentation time(s) & date(s) 
  • Hold one-on-one kickoff calls with VIPs 
  • Onboard non-VIP speakers with a group call
  • Recap  the audience personas and event messaging 
  • Explain the content creation process for slides/video
  • Share the timeline for speakers’ prep
  • Share speakers’ folders 
  • Send a follow up document recapping instructions & timeline

Hold trainings & offer support

  • Demonstrate any at-home technical setup on a live call or via recorded video instruction
  • Hold live drop in calls to check  each speaker’s audio, video & background setup
  • Create a Slack channel for speakers to ask questions
  • Share regular reminders of important dates
  • Provide a single point of contact for support 
  • Answer questions promptly
  • If a speaker falls behind the timeline, reach out with support

Designing a presentation without an audience in mind is like writing a love letter and addressing it: To Whom It May Concern.”
– Ken Haemer

Prepare speakers to prerecord video

  • Add video recording software to speaker folders
  • Add prerecord instructions to speaker folders
  • Tell speakers how long their raw video recording should be
  • Communicate what editing will be done
  • Have speakers upload final video to speaker folder
  • Edit raw footage to trim and add branding
  • Ask speaker to review and approve the final edited video
  • Schedule rehearsal if they will be taking  live Q&A on event day

Prepare speakers to live stream 

  • Recommend using a hard wire connection for live stream
  • Verify / boost internet speed as needed prior to event day
  • Define parameters for speaker background
  • Send a lighting, microphone, & camera kit for best quality AV
  • Collect presentation decks prior to event day
  • Send instructions for how to join livestream
  • Schedule two rehearsal times

“Only the prepared speaker deserves to be confident.”
– Dale Carnegie

Hold rehearsals

  • Prior to rehearsal, email live speakers with a recap of best practices for online speaking
  • Rehearsal one, walk live speakers through platform access & controls, answer any tech questions
  • Practice how event day communication will work between production & speakers
  • Decide if production or speaker will advance slides
  • Check audio, video, backdrop, position on camera
  • Make sure speakers know how to run slides, demos, audience Q&A etc.
  • Confirm panelists know how they will interact 
  • Rehearsal two, all speakers do a full dry run & make back up recordings

Day-before-the-event communications

  • Send out any final live stream links needed
  • Recap how to access the platform on event day
  • Remind speakers of the time they are scheduled to be in platform 
  • Remind speakers who to contact if they experience any technical difficulty on event day

“There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.”
– Dale Carnegie

Event day & post event

  • Designate a person to ready live speakers 
  • Confirm speaker is in platform and ready to go 15 min prior to live
  • If any speaker has technical difficulty on event day run their backup recording
  • Send speakers a thank you
  • Share audience feedback
virtual speaker management

Need more help with your speaker management ? Contact Shiloh to get started today.

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