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Your Conference Coach: metroConnections

November 4, 2022 // Educational Series

As anyone who’s had to work hard to properly deliver a big speech or presentation can attest: public speaking is a complex skillset that requires practice and persistence. Business events, by their nature, often feature programs full of speakers that are not professional performers, but instead folks with full-time jobs and busy schedules that suddenly find themselves thrust into the limelight on stage.

“Our clients will run the gamut from super polished professional speakers to technical specialists who are working against stage fright,” explains metroConnections Show Producer Maggie Corman,”If we learn from a client that public speaking is out of their comfort zone, we’ll make sure that our rehearsal is as close to a simulation of the real show as possible.”

Corman says that the key to helping more tentative speakers is to allow them to work out the kinks in an environment that replicates the one that they’ll be performing in later.

“Our team will mic up the presenter and play their chosen walk-up song as they hit the stage with lights turned way up high. Then the presenter will begin running through their presentation, clicking through slides, seeing and hearing their intended videos and discussing all show cues with the technical team, so they have full confidence to take the stage and give it their best,” Corman continues.

Technical aides can also be a great way to set speakers up for success. Corman says that her team often employs large reference video screens known as “confidence monitors” that are carefully situated just offstage so that they’re visible for the presenter but not the audience. For more heavily produced and scripted segments, metroConnections will sometimes employ a teleprompter.

While dress rehearsals and run-throughs are great for adding polish to events, metroConnections understands that many of our clients, especially c-suite executives and other power players, simply don’t have time for practice within their busy schedules. Corman says that it’s important to read a speaker and communicate with them properly so that she can take the right coaching approach. Some speakers need detailed guidance, while others are more experienced and need a much lighter coaching touch.

“Our show producers help keepour c-suite executives, stay on track,” explains Haley Foulkes, metroConnections Director of Production Services, “These high level employees often don’t have time to think much about the content or execution of their speech until they walk into the ballroom for rehearsal.”

Foulkes says that metroConnections understands the demands placed upon these types of speakers, and tailor their production approach to keep these schedules reasonable, and handle as many of the small details as possible. These details can include speech and video content, music and wardrobe selection, transitions between other presenters, voice overs, lighting, and other aesthetic and technical considerations.

When event day arrives, Corman’s role as a Show Producer is to own the room, directing the crew to make sure that each speaker’s content is appearing on the screen at the precise moment in time. Show Producers are constantly monitoring the presenter, watching for cues, and calmly anticipating what is coming next so the audience never knows what may be happening behind the scenes. By this point, Corman has built a rapport with her speakers, armed the team with a comprehensive run of show plan, and continuously instills confidence in her performers that they’re in safe hands, no matter how nervous or (or sometimes overly confident) they may be.

Let metroConnections help take the stress of managing and guiding your c-suite speakers on stage in your next conference general session.  We can assist by providing you the time you need to ensure the universal event is a complete success while we ensure for you a general session stage production is tight and will convey an experience like no other.

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