So it’s autumn and we start thinking about night classes and seminars. I’m giving classes in Public Speaking (and will seek out some Wellness seminars too). And I ask myself who needs them? I think community leaders, fathers-of-the-bride, company managers, fund-raisers… And it seems like the list is endless. So it got me thinking about seminars that I have attended where the event planner could have benefited from a few tips. So here are my suggestions for you if you’re thinking of putting together an event in your community or company.

POOR SPEAKERS
Firstly there are speakers who know their stuff but know little about public speaking. I’ve heard speakers talk proudly about their vast, growing profits in a monotone that would send an insomniac to sleep. No rise and fall of the voice. No punctuation of the important words and phrases. There are two qualities that a speaker must have – knowledge of the subject AND the ability to deliver it. You have to work out the former and I can teach you the latter.

INFO OVERLOAD
All of us can too easily suffer from information overload. We are finite beings. The human mind is designed to process a couple of things at the same time, we are told. If we are pushed much beyond that, the chances are that we will lose track, lose our focus and basically switch off. We don’t want to go blank. And you don’t want us to leave in that state of mind because we will have an accompanying sour taste in our mouth. Remember this truly is the Age of Information Overload. Have mercy!

HOUSEKEEPING
Another important consideration is Housekeeping. Yes, we need the conference room to be well-ventilated and possibly need air-conditioning in the summer months. If the room is too hot your speaker will have to contend with a bunch of sleepy, sweaty bunnies.

BREAKS
Well-timed breaks are important too. Packing too much in at any one part of the meeting will result in lethargy. Extending the Q & A time at the end of any part of the session may be of interest to the attendee who asked the question and of little interest to the others. Also people need time to process the new information. And apart from the normal coffee/lunch breaks a quick ‘bathroom’ break here and there can bring renewed energy back to the room.

HEAVY & LIGHT
Organise the schedule so that a lighter topic follows a heavy one and select your speakers so that a fun energetic speaker follows the dreary one (not that you should have hired that person in the first place). Keep this variation up throughout the entire event. And remember mid-morning is probably the best time to deliver the heavy-duty stuff. Attendees are fully awake but not too exhausted yet!

None of this is ‘rocket science’. It’s all about creating a mindful, practical path when organising the event. But it’s frankly staggering how many people overlook these basics. Make sure you don’t!

Bibi Baskin is a former TV/Radio presenter (Ireland and the UK) hotelier (India), and currently a Motivational Speaker (Ireland),a Wellness advisor and a tutor in Public Speaking. To join her classes or to book her for a talk email bibi@bibibaskin.ie Website: bibibaskin.ie