S(t)AGE ADVICE Part II-During Your Event
There are many great reasons why having a stage(s) at your event is sound practice.
- To reel in visitors. Traffic flow in an event is important to any exhibitors selling their products, sponsors looking for visibility and brand awareness, and for recognition of the venue holding the event. By creating interesting stages, with interesting presenters you will draw more visitors to your event than just those interested in your topic. For very large events, with large personalities on stage, that bring in an even greater amount of visitors… you can add to that list… hotel stays, restaurant revenue and local shopping increases.
- It gives the media something to talk about. Something to demonstrate on their broadcasts. Something to publicize about the event other than dates, times, and hours of operation.
And really let’s face it the better you are at securing famous and well-sought after talent for your stage presentations the more fun broadcasters have talking about your event and therefore giving you more air time for publicity.
- It gives your visitors an experience rather than just strolling through your event for informational purposes, lacking life and excitement.
Last week in our blog we talked about preparation and a checklist for creating stages for your event. If you missed that you can catch it here. PRE-event Stage Prep.
This week we’ll show you how running your stages during your event can be ORGANIZED leaving you less stressed and less frustrated.
START WITH HIRING AN EMCEE
This will be WELL worth your investment!
A. Instead of a staff member running to your stage(s) every hour on the hour….
- to set up the next presenter’s ppt, pictures or usb
- mic’ing them up
- and introducing them
…you’ll have an energetic emcee running the show! #makeyourlifeeasier
B. Hire an emcee
- Hire someone well recommended by someone you trust
- Hire someone outgoing and with good communication skills
- Hire someone who has emcee’d before
- Hire someone who knows a thing or two about electronics: mic’s, speaker set up that eliminates feedback, running a laptop, disks, usb ports, wireless mouse, etc.
- And lastly hire someone with a good speaking voice
A BONUS: hire someone who has background as a celeb (local or otherwise), as a speaker, broadcaster, or weatherman. Hiring an emcee who has or had a following for their (whatever level) of famousosity (if you’ve been reading our blogs you know that I like to make up words) will draw people to your stages regardless of who you secure as speakers. And let’s face it, hiring someone to emcee your stage that is popular, famous at whatever level, and well liked will give credibility to your event.
- You will want your emcee to be entertaining and interact with your crowds.
- They should entice attendees strolling the aisles to sit and listen to the next presenter.
- Your emcee will ask the audience questions and engage them while getting the next presenter set up.
- And your emcee should be able to increase and grow your audience between each presentation.
Make your emcee feel a part of your event staff—because they ARE! Feed them and keep them in the loop, make your event's office available to them. This will give them stories to share about the event, its staff or other fun(ny) happenings going on behind the scenes at your event.
Create large banners listing each days presenters and their presentation topic title. Make it sound interesting! Use action words.
Here are some favorites:
SOandSo ………. Creating 4 Uses With Curdled Milk That Are Edible
JimBob …… Demo’ing 3 Ways NOT to Milk a Cow
SallySue …..40 Pretty Stitches That Look Home Made But Are Just One Stitch, Saving You Hours!
- Create Meter Boards with each day’s schedule or if your event encourages repeat visits, have meter boards listing all days, all times and presenters so visitors can plan their next visit.
- Use electronic signage. Have a running schedule on a large monitor that you can switch out each night with the next day’s current schedule.
Feel free to share (comment below) the stage schedule signage YOU use for your event and any advice with it! We would love to hear.
Best practice is to announce each speaker or presenter at 5 minutes to the hour. This way the current speaker is no longer on stage so as not to interrupt. And then announce again “On Stage Now…” 15 seconds before the hour.
These announcements should be set up on automatic play. Have your emcee record the announcements onto a disk track. Or if they are not available pre-show, find someone through your media to record them. Use the auto play to set up the 2 announcements before each presenter.
Note: most visitors will not run to the stage once they hear the announcement. (Some will if the speaker is well known enough). The key is to promote and advertise your stages PRE event. Include your stage schedules in your newspaper buy, have your presenters announce the days and times they will be on stage when they are being interviewed by radio and television.
Hold your event interviews in front of your large meter boards with the schedule listed. #sneaky
And of course include all stage schedules in your “show/event guide”. These guides should be distributed at each and every door to ensure your visitors know where to find everything.
PRESENTER SET UP
During your event you want to make sure your presenters arrive in plenty of time to park, carry in their materials for demonstrations, and get to the stage in time to be mic’d up and make sure their disk/usb/ppt works. You should instruct them to be at the stage no later than one half hour prior to their start.
For your headliner talent you will want to coordinate a limo service toting them between hotel and the event for each presentation.
This half hour window is also a great opportunity to meet and network with other presenters and for a more local speaker to hear a more famous speaker and learn from.
For presenters that have a following, you will want to set up an area where, when presenter is finished, they can move over to a table, selfie station or fancy landscaped area for fans to take pictures and get autographs.
This is a great job for an intern—taking the pictures for each member of the audience with the talent, handing books and items to the celebrity for signing, and making sure the crowd and lines keep moving.
Again, this is a designated area away from the stage where presentations will continue uninterrupted.
STAGE SET UP
Typically a stage will be one to two risers high, decorated and carpeted for a finished and more professional look.
Include a draped off portion at the side of the stage where presenters can prep or hide out until their time slot. This can also be a place to hold a cooler for water, chairs and a table for the emcee to sit and rest.
Decorate the stage
Use a backdrop. For a diy stage that backdrop could be painted large tools. For a cooking stage it could be large utensils or a picture of a beautiful kitchen. Our favorite websites to find and order these #supercoolbanners and backdrops can be found here:
We have picked out and rented huge banners that create an entire mood for stages, features, and cool themed areas within an event. We highly recommend them! Easy to order and easy to use. The backdrop is sent to your venue to be hung by your decorator. After your event your decorator rolls it back up in to the container and tags it to be shipped back. #easypeasy
If you would like to get more creative with a cityscape scene, waterfall scene or an idea you have come up with….find a picture on Shutterstock and send it to your sign maker to create a banner apprx 8’-10’ high and 15’-20’ wide. Make sure to add grommets so the banner can be hung on pipe and drape at the back of the stage. FastSigns can do it and a #shoutout to Banners To Go as they will ship to your event.
This adds tremendous value to your stages and is important for the look of your event making it enjoyable for attendees to sit at the stage and watch. It is especially beneficial as you take pictures of your presenters.
ON STAGE USAGE
Have someone you know create a countertop or use really cool solid handcrafted tables that are bar or counter height for the presenters to work off of. Be creative. Shoot for a really unique look. Design it according to the theme or topic of the stage.
Create an Outdoor Kitchen if you have a kitchen stage. Utilize a Workshop table if you have a diy stage. If your stage is all-purpose have a furniture company decorate it giving them free exposure at your event.
Use something of value on the stage as a giveaway. Provide sign-up sheets and pencils to collect email addresses and generate excitement about a kitchen giveaway, living room set giveaway or heavy-duty counter height patio table and chairs give away. Set up ipad stands to collect this information which also makes it easier to draw the winner. This is another way to promote your stage and bring attention to it without the generic way of announcing speakers, times and dates.
Encourage your presenters to have a give away at each of their presentations. As your presenters will mostly be demonstrating and creating something during their presentation have them give it away to a lucky winner when they finish.
Remember during your PRE-event planning you instructed your presenters to bring with them copies of their recipe or demonstration (5-10 step process) so their audience could grab one as a take away to replicate it at home.
Place these one-offs on the stage and ensure the presenter draws attention to them. We recommend not stuffing seats with these as then someone has to clean the chairs after each presentation. Allow your audience to pick one up if they so choose. These one-offs should include the presenter’s contact information for further contact and business.
What else would YOU suggest be at the stage or to decorate the stage? We would love to hear your suggestions! (Comment below).
Contract with an A/V company to provide laptop (if you don’t have a spare), wireless hookups especially a wireless mouse ppt slide show advancer, large monitor to view the presentation, and any wiring. These can all be rented and set up (and taken down) by your A/V company—the Pros. #keepinitsimple
Can YOU see the big picture yet? Your stage is set up, decorated and you’ve created the perfect “mood” for your stage with your backdrop and items used to decorate, with the monitor positioned strategically near the presentation table.
The emcee has a microphone and is introducing the first speaker. They demonstrate a fantastic diy project that everyone always needed and wanted to know how to create themselves. Those in the audience are lingering around after that lucky winner lugged off the creation and the emcee has encourage half that audience to stay and hear an even better presentation next!
While your emcee introduces the next speaker the last of handouts are taken and we begin again.
YOU’VE GOT THIS!
Watch for next week’s blog where we’ll help you wrap up your event especially regarding your stage and presenters—so you won’t miss a thing!