The Most Important Event Planning Steps: Step Four

In our previous blogs, we’ve covered briefing your speaker correctly, marketing your event to the right audience and understanding your tech. So now that we’ve covered arranging the event, let’s look at hosting it.

If you’ve just joined us, and you want to start from the top, you can read the rest of the series here.

The host needs to be engaging.

You’re the one everyone will look to for leading the event. Anything which needs explaining or introducing will be up to you, and often you’ll be responsible for putting the speakers’ minds at ease before they begin, and introducing them. You need confidence, and you need to be able to speak with people at all levels.

For ‘in person’ events, it’s easy to create an atmosphere. You can play music, there’s the soft hum of networking going on, and there are plenty of audio and visual cues for when things are happening. If someone takes to the stage, you can be pretty sure the event is about to begin. A hush will descend, you take your seat, all is working like clockwork. As the host, you’ve the audience in the palm of your hand.

For an online or hybrid event, not so much! You’ll still want that human touch to make people feel at ease.

The biggest mistake you can make here is act like you’re on television. No, really. People aren’t just staring intently at you as they shovel crisps into their mouths at the end of a long day as a purely hypothetical scenario…. They’re most likely looking at their e-mails in another tab, they’ve got notifications popping up, they’re looking at their device, they’re doodling in a notebook, or they’re sitting in your conference room but watching everything else on the online screen in front of them.

In short, people at your conference are easily distracted, unless you give them something interesting enough to capture their attention.

So in those lulls between speakers or as you wait for the next bit to start, you need to guide people through what will happen using your voice and descriptions, and the easiest way to do that is imagine you’re on the phone. Explain any awkward silences, and give cues as to what is happening and when. Let people feel someone is there, and in control. That way, you can be sure your information is clear and descriptive enough that everyone is paying attention.