When choosing a speaker or entertainer or your event, there are three different avenues you can take: The good, the bad, and the me.
Did I just call myself ugly? Shocking. Well, I was much cuter in High school. Speakers and entertainers are the center point to a successful event. People may remember or may not remember the Rumaki appetizers, but I am certain they will have an opinion on the speakers and if the message was effective, humorous, enjoyable, and memorable.
Enter me. I make people laugh and feel good about what they are laughing at. I break up the soil, bring down the house, rattle the walls.
Events that have funny, clean, and appropriate succeed beyond the wildest expectations.
Enough about me. I live to make you look good. That’s an advantage you never expected. “whose, idea was it to get Bill? Give that person a huge raise and a key to the executive bathrooms.”
Non professional speakers are important to your event, but keeping them on task is essential. Another good reason to have an experienced act involved at your event. When a non professional speaker gets 5 minutes and goes 19, then we have a problem Houston. Last minute coaching and encouraging to help them stay on task and avoid the common mistakes amateurs make is gold. (Like they can spend the first 90 seconds of their 5 minutes talking about how nervous they are to be doing this, and how they have never been comfortable in front of crowds, and how their high school communications teacher said they should vision the crowd naked, etc)
Always a good idea to let the guest speakers be sound checked with the lights in their faces prior to the event to avoid any shocks. This all contributes to keeping the tempo strong.
A good emcee/ stage manager will also keep the physical transitions of these speakers crisp. Don’t welcome someone to the stage that is in the middle of the room and it takes them one minute to snake through the crowded room to get to the stage. When these speakers are up, they need to be ready to immediately enter. Again, non pros are not aware of how essential these transitions are, so manage their geography for them. Have them in proximity prior to intros!
Guests-non professional speakers-are usually always willing to add way more to their talks than what they were asked for. Again, it is an important soft difference. If for example a person gets up to make announcements, make the announcements. Don’t try out your Last Comic Standing material at this point. Another area where is can easily happen is when a minister is asked to give the blessing for the meal-is where instead of a 45 second blessing they spend the first 7 minutes rambling on in front of it. Sorry, people are standing and the the hot meal is in the wings. If you are asked to give the blessing, you can skip the 6 minute sermonette in front of it unless you have been asked to do so.
Avoid scheduling back to back similar length speakers. Two 25 minute presentations back to back is hard from a tempo stand point. Audiences appreciate unpredictability. I also like when a speaker will subtlety drop the length of time they will be speaking. Remove from the audiences mind, “how long is this gonna last?” Folks in the seats really appreciate timing cues. “Bob asked me for the next few minutes to give you an update on the mice that were spotted in the company lunchroom the size of Shelties.”
Remember then that the remarks should be “a few minutes”. Trust me, they will be interested in your topic and you will be respecting their time.