5 Instant & Easy Ways to Reduce Event Speaker Stress

keynote-speaker-on-stage.detailsAs event professionals, we know the devil’s in the details. So, to ensure our events are truly best in class and kick ass, we must also be masters and mistresses of minutiae who show that devil the door. To that end, here are five simple, no-cost stress relievers to ensure your speaker presentations go off without a hitch.

Are you inviting presenters from out of town? Then lessen anxiety and create a safety net by noting in contracts that incoming flights be booked with at least one backup flight in case of delays or cancellations. Voilà: No more nail-biting when airline issues or bad weather strike.

Set up your room optimally. For many event types, I highly recommend curved theater seating. This setup maximizes sight lines, creates a sense of movement and gives participants the opportunity to see, hear and share insights with one another. Too often, planners default to straight rows of seats facing front, which stifles interaction and engagement on every level.

Never change the wording of professional speakers’ introductions without their permission. These are carefully scripted for a reason, and if you change ‘em, the program may get off to a less-than-stellar beginning.

Practice doing things wrong with a pre-mortem. Most event organizers conduct post-mortems, when it’s too late to fix problems. But you can uncover problems before they happen by holding a pre-mortem. In this keep-the-devil-at-bay business strategy, you imagine—in great detail—how every element of your event can fail so that you’re ready for just about anything. In the process, you’ll generate a set of clear action plans and be prepared for whatever unfolds.

Prevent disembodiment. Are you using Image Magnification (IMAG) and/or are you video recording what happens on stage for future use? Then be sure to ask speakers to wear clothing that contrasts with your stage backdrop so that they don’t blend into it (black clothing on black pipe and drape for example!)—unless, of course, you want your live and recorded footage to feature people with disembodied heads!


mug shotAndrea Driessen is Chief Boredom Buster at No More Boring Meetings in Seattle, WA, and longtime SHW vendor partner. An international award-winning business owner, she’s been busting boredom and booking top speakers and thought leaders at events for 30 years. The author of the international award-winning Non-Obvious Guide to Event Planning: For Kick-Ass Gatherings that Inspire People (2019), Andrea works with clients including Starbucks, Microsoft, Habitat for Humanity and hundreds more.