It’s a shame to put all that investment, time and effort into creating online & hybrid events, only to see them flop. You tinker with the best technology, spend money on the best platforms, round up that interested audience… only to watch them yawn or worse… leave.
As an event organiser you did everything right, right? You took the time to find the right online venue that could support the event’s needs, you got all the bells and whistles you needed for your keynote speakers to be able to present clearly, you made sure there would be zero internet issues!
What the hell went wrong?
Here’s the real reason your online event was boring. And to explain it, I’m going to use the Pareto principle which most know as the 80/20 principle.
No amount of flash (20%) can cover up a boring speaker (80%)
Ain’t that the gospel truth! Your speakers are the bread and butter of your event. And if they’re soggy, no one will eat them, no matter what the plates you serve them on look like. Boring equals boredom, the math is that simple.
Ultimately, an online event platform can only do 20% of the work for your event. The other 80% is up to the speakers.
Why do I know this?
I’ve assisted in the coordination of over 100 online events. At CloudCrew we’re proud to be a one-stop-shop for all online & hybrid event assistance. But before CloudCrew was seeded, we have been helping presenters and speakers perfect and level up their presentations since 1997. And that number runs into the thousands.
Therefore, you can understand why it would be so tormenting for us to see a well put together event only to fail due to poorly delivered keynote address. We have the superpower of seeing the whole picture. And as an event coordinator yourself, it’s important you see that picture too. Because it’s the only way to elevate your events from mediocre to awesome.
As an event organiser, you need to be able to elevate your speakers (for example, if they’re internal) or be able to deduce whether an address will be a winner or a soggy bread and butter sandwich.
Here are my 3 principles to help you when thinking about your speakers at your event – Preparation, Presentation, Perspective. Ultimately, this will help you level up your speakers and how to spot content that will engage and activate your audience:
Presenting online is more challenging than presenting in person. However, it comes with so many opportunities to engage and get creative. If your speaker is willing to unlock them. It is worth every hour, every minute spent on preparing a talk before your event. Preparation guide:
- Presenters should be comfortable with the event platform.
- Test that the presenter’s tech is synced with the event platform.
- Perform technical dry runs.
- Ensure the presenter looks great, that lighting is front lit and crisp.
The presenter’s presentation is so vital to the success of your event that it would be a good investment of your time to make sure it meets the criteria it needs for successful delivery. You can truly help your audience by asking yourself these questions of the speaker’s slides:
- Are they text heavy? Too much information on one slide is like a sleeping pill for your audience.
- Do they tie in nicely with the speaker’s narrative?
- The bigger the better. The text on the slides should not be too small to see.
- Is there audience engagement? I’m not just talking about a 10 minute Q&A session at the end. I’m talking about using polling, real-time chats or even augmented reality!
Put your own ass in the audience’s seat. The worst thing you could do for your online & hybrid events is, only look at it from the speaker’s perspective. The A-Lister at your event is your audience: not your speaker. Try to imagine the worst-case scenario. It could be your audience sitting through an endless line up of monotone, droning speakers reading their slides. When the event is over, you receive no feedback, and people move on with their lives as if it never happened.
Now do everything to avoid that. Think like your audience. What does it take for you to be engaged and take action after you listen to a talk? Once you know the answer, apply it to your own events.
No online & hybrid events deserve to fail
Your online & hybrid events deserve the best chance at success. However, in order to achieve that you need to be thinking about it holistically. We often disregard the speaker, thinking that they should have everything they need to wow an audience, but there are still some things you can do to make sure that they deliver.
That said, we’re in the fortunate position to offer help on both sides. Our Academy offers masterclasses on perfecting presentations and helping speakers craft winning and powerful talks while we here at CloudCrew make sure the event goes off without a hitch.