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The Life of a Speaker: Give Your Next Speaker a Helping Hand

We have several upcoming blog posts lined up detailing our demo wizard-ing experiences at Microsoft Ignite 2017.  Today we are kicking things off with Martin Booth!  With Martin co-presenting 9 sessions this year, he is offering great insight into the life of a speaker at Microsoft Ignite.  

The Life of a Speaker: Give Your Next Speaker a Helping Hand

Microsoft Ignite was a pretty busy week for me as I was a co-speaker on nine sessions.  From a speaker perspective, I want to share a few tips for you to keep in mind when attending your next conference:


Plan Ahead

Use the Session Scheduler ahead of the event. 


In the run up to the event, the session planning team typically looks at the number of attendees adding each session to their personal schedules. This helps the team assess which sessions are going to be the most popular and also enables them to determine whether or not to add repeated session or switching session rooms based on the planned turnout.

I was originally set to co-present four theater sessions, but just before the conference, our sessions were doubled to eight. As the conference got closer, the number of attendees kept going up, leading the content team to approach us about delivering a couple of our scheduled theater sessions as a breakout session to accommodate the numbers.

By planning your conference schedule ahead of time, you can influence the content planning and ensure that the popular sessions get repeated or moved to higher capacity rooms.


Give Feedback

Evaluations matter.

Many speakers end their session with the usual joke “if you enjoyed this session please fill out an evaluation, if you didn’t remember that evals are optional”.

In all seriousness, evaluations are incredibly important. When planning for an event, the topic areas are often aligned to areas that are popular with attendees. The only way we can judge if sessions are hitting the mark on subject matter and technical level is if we get feedback.

If you don’t enjoy a session, give specifics. Poor scores do not help us get better unless we can understand how to improve. Of course, constructive feedback is much preferred over generic criticism. (Remember, the evaluation should be on the content and delivery – don’t score a session low because the product doesn’t work the way you want or the licensing is not to your liking!)

Here’s some of the verbose comments we received on the Ignite sessions I was involved in:

Session was in an open, crowded hall. It was difficult to see and hear the presenter.

 Content well presented and covers the subject. Kind presenter who is listening to his audience.

Theater sessions were problematic due to sightlines and audio.

This is great feedback on a theater location that was not ideal.  It’s feedback like this that helps plan the event spaces moving forward.

Very good presentation. Quality work.

It’s always good to hear from satisfied attendees that we did a reasonable job on the content and interacting with the audience.

Real smart approach, will remember that!

This feedback was on a session using a specific style of sharing customer stories. Glad that it helped this attendee!

Give your speaker a helpful hand!  Follow these tips and both you and your speaker will have a smooth and enjoyable day at your next conference.

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