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Guest Speaker Room Setup and Event Planning Suggestions

Seating
If possible, please make sure the front row of the audience is seated no more than 6 feet away from the stage or area in which the speaker will be presenting. We have found that the distance of the audience from the speaker considerably affects the impact of the presentation.

Breaks
Attendees should have a break every hour and a half (maximum) to maintain comfort, participation and enjoyment of the meeting.

Meals
Meals should be completely finished before or served after a speaker’s presentation. Eating is a social activity and encourages discussion even during a presentation. People have a difficult time focusing while eating; it divides attention and also makes it difficult for people to comfortably laugh.

Temperature
If the temperature gets above 71 degrees it becomes likely that after 20 or 30 minutes people will become uncomfortable. In a room above 71 degrees people get tired and cannot focus. A little cold is much better than a little warm. Many presentations loose their impact because it is just too warm in the room. It is important that the room be cooled hours before the presentation.

Audio and Visual

If possible arrange for the microphone test to be as close to when the speaker speaks as possible. Make sure the crew takes into account the speakers personal experiences with his or her own audio. The speaker can often offer valuable suggestions to the audio crew about his or her own vocal style and needs.

Speaker Introduction

Make sure the person reading the speakers introduction has a copy in advance so he or she can practice. They should read the introduction exactly as the speaker has written it.

Visual Obstacles and Distractions

Book a room without visual obstacles between the audience and the speaker. Having to look around a pole or column is distracting for the audience and the speaker.

  • Make sure there are not any distracting view and do not place the speaker in front of an unshaded window.
  • Minimize any non essential background decorations or props.
  • Make sure the serving crew are not walking around during the speech.
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Garrison Wynn