Securing the right ballroom for your meeting is essential for a successful event, as we recently discussed. But it’s only part of the equation. Managing the content and presentations is equally critical.
Start at the beginning. Know the slide format you’ll be using. You have two options: 16:9 and 4:3. These are aspect ratios, which translate into how your content looks on your screens. The 16:9, a widescreen format, is most common today in slides as well as movies and television.
The 4.3 option is being phased out. Most new projectors are exclusively 16:9, so if you’re using a 4:3 format, make sure your production team knows so screens and projectors are in sync with your slide size. To learn how to format slides, or know what format slides are in, email me at Christy.firstname.lastname@example.org.
SLIDE FORMAT ISN’T THE ONLY THING TO FOCUS ON. Templates should be created whenever possible to ensure consistent formatting and to help guarantee visual quality and consistency. Titles, body copy, subheads and footnotes are pre-programmed so presenters can prepare their copy rather than formatting slides.
Another key to effective slide formatting is encouraging presenters to limit the number of bullet items per slide. Overcrowding slides makes them hard to read and intimidating, causing people to “click off of” what the speaker is saying.
Once your slides are set, turn your attention to keeping your meeting running on time. A timer helps presenters know where they are and can give a pre-determined warning a set time before the end of their allotted time. Red, yellow and green lights can be used to enforce the message.
Speakers present even more effectively with confidence monitors. These are placed on the floor in front of the stage so speakers can see them with little effort. Speakers won’t have to look behind them to see their materials and, if placed correctly, the monitors are invisible to the audience.
Monitors for the speaker’s notes add another layer of insurance and comfort for your presenter. These screens are pre-loaded with notes to remind the speaker of anything he or she wants to remember in the presentation.
ALL THESE MONITORS AND SLIDES require that someone be backstage to advance the slides and make sure everything is in sync. Hiring a graphics operator allows changes to be made, unseen presentation errors to be corrected and for a seamless show flow. The investment is worth the peace of mind it brings.
Use a PerfectCue System (or a similar brand) to advance slides. With this, speakers have a hand-held clicker. When pressed, the clicker lights up a red or green arrow at the graphics’ operator’s table, letting that person know to advance the slides. This prevents nervous speakers from advancing too quickly or forgetting to advance at all. Since the speaker isn’t actually controlling the slides, the pressure is off.
With these simple pre-show and on-site preparations, your content will be delivered effectively and professionally. Your audience and your presenters will thank you. When they look good, you look great!
Next: Using the right microphones, and more.