Giving the VIP treatment

Giving your guest speakers the VIP treatment can make your event a success. Find out how here.Canadian comedian and TV personality, Rick Mercer, once spoke about his most horrific experiences of public speaking. From his introducer telling the audience that half of them were being made redundant, to technical issues involving strobe lighting — he’s had some interesting experiences. 

Some issues you can’t control, but if you’re hosting a  guest speaker, treating them well throughout their experience is important. Here are some top tips on how to give them the VIP treatment. 

Jade Sammons, events specialist at Stone Junction.

Whether they’re speaking to five or five thousand people, inviting a guest speaker to your event shouldn’t be a simple case of giving them a place, time and asking them to show up. They should be treated with care.

Communication is king
Your communication can make or break your relationship with a speaker, so having one person as your guest’s main point of contact will keep things running smoothly.

If you’re speaking to them by email, be clear and concise and make sure you confirm key points, like date, time and location. Approving compensation or expenses reimbursement in writing will avoid any awkward discussions after the event.

You should also confirm the duration of the speaking slot. This means they know what is expected of them from the start. Of course, add in some additional time to your own schedule just in case they over run, or are asked some interesting audience questions.

Warm welcome
When your guest arrives on event day, making sure they are made to feel welcome will give a great first impression. Having a dedicated person ready to meet and greet your guest will make them feel important, rather than abandoned.

You don’t need to roll out the red carpet for your guest speaker — unless it is a real VIP of course — but having a separate space for them to relax before the event begins and providing them with light refreshments won’t go unnoticed.

Giving your speaker the right introduction when announcing them is vital too. Mispronouncing their name or getting their job title wrong will get things off to a touchy start.

Fond farewell
The type of event you are hosting can affect how you communicate with your speaker afterwards, but regardless, make sure you do.

Whether it be a simple thank you email and endorsement on LinkedIn or sending a bunch of flowers or bottle of their favoured tipple, try to finish off working with them with a cherry on the metaphorical cake.

So, while you really shouldn’t make redundancy announcements pre-speech and there is little you can do regarding any technical issues, keeping your guest speaker happy and informed throughout your entire time working with them will keep them on your side and make the event memorable.

If you’re organising an event and need a reliable guest speaker, or you think you could offer insightful speeches to your industry events, speak to me about how Stone Junction can help you to organise this. You can call +44 (0)1785 225 416 or e-mail jade@stonejunction.co.uk.

Jade Sammons

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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