by Jim Stovall | June 01, 2016

Several times each month, I leave the comfortable confines of my office and venture out to an arena or convention facility to make a speech. Every time I take the stage, I am committed to providing a transformational experience.

I have been making speeches to associations and other groups for well over 20 years and have encountered every manner of event planner, convention coordinator and meeting manager you can imagine. These professionals, I’m certain, are all hoping to have a good event but rarely do they give enough specific feedback to provide their audience with everything they expect and deserve to maximize their investment of time and money.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Help your speaker help you put on the most amazing event possible by following these 10 simple steps:

1. Tell the speaker or presenter what it is you want to accomplish. Don’t tell them what you want them to do as that’s not as constructive. I have given well over 1,000 speeches to several million people throughout the years, and meeting professionals regularly tell me what they want me to do. Instead, if they can tell me what they want to accomplish, that would be more helpful. There is often a better suggestion I can make born out of the countless experiences I have had over the years. As an association planner, you know your members and your organization, but I know my presentation and how to elicit the best results; together, let’s plan, coordinate and cooperate.

2. Every professional who makes a presentation should provide you with a prepared, quality introduction. If the master of ceremonies (or whomever is doing the introduction) wants to add background info, comments or other details, they should plan to do so before this prepared intro, thus bringing the presenter onto the stage immediately after the standard introduction (which offers context) and providing continuity.

3. Provide the speaker with a walk-through. As a blind person, I always need an onstage walk-through at the venue before the meeting. This allows me to orient myself and be ready to walk onto the stage independently. However, you should offer a similar opportunity and a sound check to every presenter.

4. Tell your speakers what time you want them to end their presentations (not how long to speak). Programs often run long or short, and good speakers can adjust their presentation to get you back on schedule if you provide them with this simple information.

5. Always share what is scheduled to precede and follow the speaker on the agenda. I have been introduced immediately after a moment of silence that was observed for the passing of the founder, and I have been introduced right after an exuberant celebration announcing that an organization had exceeded its annual goal. Following each circumstance requires a different approach, but I can deal with it more appropriately if I know what the schedule is in advance.

6. Time speaker meet-and-greet sessions appropriately. Casual meet-and-greet sessions before an event often take away from the wow factor you are paying for. Save them for afterwards.

7. Update your speaker on any major breaking industry or association news. For example, if there is new legislation, a labor strike, a merger or a technological breakthrough that your group is following because it impacts your attendees, it will likely impact your speaker. Keep him or her in the loop.

8. Tell your presenter what speakers you have used previously. Great presenters know each other and can adjust their speeches accordingly.

9. Provide every speaker with the emergency contact information of all the key people at your event. In turn, make sure you have all that information from your presenter. You can’t collaborate if you can’t get a hold of one another.

10. Provide your speakers or presenters with evaluations and feedback. Just as evaluations and feedback are important both for your planning purposes, sharing them with speakers will help them help the next group they serve.