What Speakers Need From a Venue venue

The venue is crucial, whether you’re a Training Business, a Freelance Trainer, an Associate or a Conference Speaker. It doesn’t really matter whether you’re hiring a room yourself or just making use of it to deliver for someone else. If you’re a venue supplier, then pay close attention.

  1. Respond to requests on booking, pricing and facilities quickly. We are often comparing multiple venues, and we will <> those who respond quickly. Once a booking has been made, continue to respond to requests for additional information promptly. Otherwise, we may need to make use of that cancellation policy.
  2. Speakers often need IT equipment, whether to stay online during a workshop day, demonstrate technology to an audience, or display slides. Ensure that your IT equipment is up-to-date and don’t say you have equipment when you don’t. Trainers need to know that they are not required to bring a laptop, projector, flipchart, pens, paper, extension cables, network cables, their own freakin’ web connection, multiple versions of software, along with manuals, handouts, handbags, manbags and other props!
  3. If a speaker turns up early, don’t go apoplectic. We can manage to amuse ourselves with setting up the equipment, having a cup of tea, walking around the room to get a feel for its size and possibilities, checking our fringe is OK, reading the news online etc. Arriving early means we have time to get “in the zone”. Trust us, we have multiple years of experience in arriving not quite early enough, so just let us be, alright!? (I was once berated and treated abysmally by a conference manager for turning up half an hour earlier than I’d advised – one and a half hours before kick-off. And, yes, the seminar started 40 minutes late, because it took them over 2 hours to get their web connection working.)
  4. Have an IT person on hand, especially for the start of the session. Often, trainers and speakers are depending on the equipment t0 work, notably during a workshop. If the trainer has requested that access to certain websites is crucial to the success of the day, i.e. Facebook, Twitter etc, ensure someone checks this. Assume n-o-t-h-i-n-g. If it fails, everyone has to go home. It’s happened me more than once, despite multiple phone calls to check it has been checked.
  5. Have a conference person on hand. Often, last minute hitches, ideas for table configurations or memory lapses will alter how a session could or should be run. Accommodate where possible.
  6. Paper, pens, flipcharts, notepads, water, quality tea, coffee, scones and sweets all make things so much nicer. Attendees love them too. Make the experience as pain-free as possible.
  7. Locate a water fountain in the room. Trainers drink a lot of water before, during and after a session. It helps lubricate their vocal chords, making for a pleasant speaking experience for both trainer and attendees. If this is not possible, supply a glass and a jug of water. Top it up just before the session commences. It is very embarrassing to have to ask during a session, then wait while it arrives.
  8. The toilets facilities should be spotless. Otherwise, don’t advertise that you provide “excellent facilities”. If unpleasant or unable to cope with the demand of multiple users, especially at larger venues, it makes breaks run later and people get snappier.
  9. Be on the ball! Ask the speaker what they thought of their day. Was everything OK? You should not get any surprises, as all should have been dealt with before or during. However, this might reveal some things you’d not thought of, perhaps new ideas!

Who most recently delighted this customer? SIGNAL Centre of Excellence, Bangor, Northern Ireland, UK.

Image credit: Incase Designs.