Why you Need an Event Producer
By Cynthia Bishop, who is a freelance event producer and project manager with over 22 years’ experience producing live, broadcast, and virtual events for corporations, non-profits and creative agencies in over 11 countries, in venues ranging from hotel ballrooms to stadiums. Whether it’s an executive keynote, product launch, press event, multi-day conference, world tour, or all of the above, she ensures your events are successful and memorable.
We all want to create the very best meetings possible, so audience have a great experience. So, what do you gain by hiring a producer to augment your team? A producer provides the success infrastructure so participants can consume the information your presenters deliver with all the attention they can give it.
Producers ensure all the required equipment and supporting staff are in place; that the audience can fully see and hear the information; that presentation flow is seamless. That the atmosphere onsite is calm, cool, confident and collected—not chaotic. And that you are free to focus on networking, logistics, important partner meetings, and PR—not trying to run presentations at the same time.
Current strategy behind presentation development recommends changing up the content every eight minutes to help keep the audience’s attention. People will typically remember the beginning of something and the end, but not so much the middle. The longer a presenter talks, the more the loss of retention. There is so much power in getting an audience together to hear a story, a message, that resonates and generates buzz. Hearing audience members excitedly talk about speakers and sessions, and knowing they can activate these learnings, is crucial.
Here are my top five steps to take in the event-development process.
1.Understand the infrastructure of the event to avoid unhappy surprises. As an event producer, I spend time evaluating and troubleshooting every aspect of an event’s venue, schedule, security, food service, transportation, contracts and more. This includes:
- Ensuring all the speakers’ technical and AV needs are in order, and communicated to the crew. Only then will your audience see and hear at their best.
- Insisting on and running rehearsals. This isn’t to check if speakers know their material; we assume that. Rather, we conduct a short run through so we can set speakers’ mic levels, ensure presentations on hand are the versions they are expecting, and make sure speakers understand what is happening from when they walk on to the stage to when they walk off. As they say: “Every show needs a rehearsal; you just don’t want your first one to be in front of an audience.”
- Creating smooth transitions so that as one presenter leaves… does someone come on to thank them? Where do they exit? Does a video play? What about that chair in the middle of the stage? What’s on the screens?
- Making sure the choreography and blocking on stage is smooth, purposeful, and additive.
- Make the event’s objectives interesting. For example: figure out the audience’s expectations and consciously decide to meet the expectations or change them.
- Understand who the decision makers are and get everyone on the team, from executive presenters to the production team, on board with the event’s content and creative objective(s). Why are we doing what we’re doing? Is it compelling? Getting everyone invested will keep the entire team focused and motivated.
- Not all events are the same. Not all vendors and contractors are the same. I’ll work to create a customized, creative production team that brings together the best skill set for a specific event. Regardless of budget, the right team will create something special and memorable.
- Planning includes many twists and turns. So throughout the process, producers scrutinize decisions to make sure they are in service to the objectives.
You take great care when selecting guest speakers and planning your CEO’s speech. Time, energy and budget dollars are spent. We all want to create an environment for the audience and the presenters from which connections, inspirations and actions flow.
But if a presenter comes to stage thumping her mic and asking: “Is this thing working?? Can you hear me??” the audience is suddenly paying attention to technical production issues that have nothing to do with engaging the audience…and there is no telling how long it will take to get the audience focused again on the most important elements of your event.
©Cynthia Bishop 2018
Photo of TEDx stage courtesy of and © TEDxSeattle