One of the most challenging aspects of the shift from real-life to virtual and hybrid events is dealing with experienced speakers. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when bringing the stage veteran into the virtual world.
Many experienced speakers are accustomed to presenting live and being able to fine-tune their presentations right before going on stage. But, virtual platforms often require pre-recorded presentations at least 30 days in advance, in order to provide enough time to preload and test them. Pre-recorded sessions do not typically afford the luxury of last minute changes, or such changes can cause delays and technical problems. It’s important to share a sense of urgency with them.
Rehearsals are crucial, even for experienced speakers. The speakers must be comfortable presenting the content and, most importantly, with the production aspect. The event team needs to be available beforehand to ensure that they have tested their equipment, have the right lighting, sufficient broadband, are familiar with how to start/stop their camera and mute/unmute, etc. These are all aspects that would normally be controlled in an in-person event by the organizers. Preparation and rehearsal is key.
Even the most experienced speakers need coaching on the best practices for virtual presentations. Lacking live interaction, the speakers must be able to present as if there was a live audience in front of them. For some, this may mean gathering a small group as their audience in the real-world. For others, simple tricks like where to look at the screen when presenting, standing up, and moving about will bring more energy into the presentation.
Keep in mind that even the most professional of speakers may very well require assistance in the virtual world!