We spoke to Crista Huff, president of Goodfellow LLC and asked for her tips on what makes business events and conferences a success.
In her time as Vice President of Morgan Stanley, she certainly experienced her fair share of conferences – in both attending and presenting roles. Here is what we learned from our conversation with Crista – the business event tips that events managers should focus on when trying to execute event production, to serve top quality event experiences.
The comfort of the people in the room is paramount. If they are distracted by discomfort, they are less likely to pay attention to the speaker and the presentation.
Having comfortable seating can be the difference between an engaged, interactive audience and a fidgety, distracted crowd. The later is probably going to be polite, yet unfocused. Thinking more of getting out of the room, rather than staying in it.
When planning the chair and table configurations, pull the chairs away from the tables, as if people are sitting in them. Now look to see if there is enough room for attendees to get out of their seats and pass through the crowd. Also, if the round table fits ten chairs, use eight chairs, thereby allowing room at people’s feet for briefcases, purses, and computer bags; and also to more easily allow people to get out of their chairs.
If the crowd is older, ages 40+, use a larger typeface on the printed materials. The attendees who forgot to bring their reading glasses will not be able to see small print. An even older 50+ crowd, might need many short breaks from the presentation. People in this age group need to use restrooms more often, and need to move around more often, to remain physically comfortable.
Make sure that the speaker has a plan for dealing with overly-talkative audience members who seem to think that it is acceptable to interrupt the speaker. Such people tend to make the audience angry, and they can really distress a polite speaker who doesn’t know how to ask the person to stop interjecting into the presentation.
In our research of online conversations about business events, a common reoccurring theme that has yet to be solved is the lack of WiFi access provided by the organizers.
For more business event tips , read Tech Queen Esme Vos who has written about this extensively on her blog, Muniwireless, with Why conference Wi-Fi sucks and how to improve it.