We've put together a checklist for you for your next event to help you prepare for all that's involved in planning your stages. You can copy and save this or bookmark it to come back to when the time is right for you.
Feel free to comment or ask questions below as we would love to hear from you!
- Determine how many and what type(s) of stages you need or want at your event
e.g. Kitchen or cooking stage, a diy stage, or another trendy stage idea that fits your event
* Decide on your “headliner” speaker. They drive traffic to your event.
* Choose local presenters based on your event’s purpose
* Look for social media savvy presenters
- Determine budget
* How much will you need for a headline speaker?
* How much will you need for stage materials if you’re providing the diy elements?
* Determine if you can hire 2 headliners (recommended).
* Determine hotel, food, travel, and material expenses
3. Determine where you will place your stages
* Consider traffic flow: to re-direct traffic, to direct traffic to certain areas of the venue, to place stages near sponsors or exhibits that need much traffic
- Develop each stage schedule
* Presentations should begin 1-2 hours after the event begins
* Schedule should end 2 hours before event closes (last speaker ends an hour before event close)
*Schedule a presenter every hour on the hour during this window
* Schedule your presenters in such a way to build momentum and audience at each stage. e.g. Your headliner first, your 2nd headliner, then a local talent not as well known. Rinse and repeat.
- Contract with the presenters you have obtained
* Spell out each and every expectation you have for each other
* Include a cancellation fee
* Include payment details: deposits, when to expect payment in full, where it will be sent
* Ask your presenters what's important for them to receive-besides financial consideration-make them happy! They will be thrilled to tweet and post about your event if they are happy.
- Prepare your presenters
* Let them know what you will provide for them: microphone, laptop for their usb and powerpoint presentations
* Make sure you are clear in what you expect them to bring and deliver: Demonstration? Pictures? Props? Materials? Take-aways for the audience so they don’t have to take notes.
* Spell out the format of their time on stage: speaking, demonstrating, audience participation, give away what they make, question and answer session, autograph signing, picture taking, it will be a lot smoother if they know what to expect.
* Begin a list of people you will need to monitor the stages and assist
- Needed Equipment
* Audio/Visual: set this up with a local a/v company and have an agreement of expectations: what they are bringing, delivery and set up, ask these professionals if you need anything else once you’ve described to them your set-up---they’ll know!
* microphones: Hand held? Lapel? Headset?
* speakers, risers, carpet on top of the risers, chairs or benches for audience seating: usually your venue and decorator provides this
* Lists of materials you will need to purchase--IF you are providing for any of the speakers
* Signage: throughout the venue so attendees can find the stage and schedule
- Set up Interviews
* Radio, tv and magazine and news articles
- Have an Emcee
* Keep the audience engaged
* Increase the audience at the stage
* Prepare each speaker with microphone, props, usb/pictures and ppt
We talked extensively in our blog S(t)AGE ADVICE part ii about having an emcee at your stage, you can revisit that here: Blog: Stages During Your Event.
* Create banners or electronic signage to be placed throughout the event showing visitors where to go and entice them with the schedule of who is presenting
* Create large meter boards with the schedule printed for signage at each stage
* Announce each speaker twice before they present
* Set up your announcements on auto-play
* Have your emcee, one of your presenters or someone your PR firm recommends record all announcements for your stages
* Include all stage schedules in your event’s guide so people can pre-plan their stage visits
- Prep your presenters
* To arrive at the stage one half hour before they speak
* Where to park, which door to enter, how to find you to obtain their credentials
* Coordinate limo service for your headline speakers to and from the hotel
* Set up an autograph/picture taking area near the stage to move to following the presentation and instruct your headliner how this will work
- Stage set up
* set the actual stage one to two risers high
* have your decorator carpet it for a more professional look
* include a draped off section to your stage for speaker prep and emcee resting
* Add seating: typical folding chairs or benches for more comfortable and casual seating
- Decorate the stage
* Use a back drop to create the mood or feel for the stage area
* Include a table for presenting on or something more theme relevant
* Add elements for mood, theme reinforcement and interest
- Add promotion at your stages
* Use something large or of great value on your stage to giveaway. This will provide you with opt-in emails for future use, and create a fun activity that generates excitement as everyone waits to see who won.
* This will increase your publicity
* Have each presenter give away what they create. #fun #excitement
- Take Aways
* Don’t forget to include each presenter’s take-aways. The audience will appreciate having a one-off to take with them to create, build or cook what they just witnessed, in their own home.
* Have your A/V contact’s direct number to call in case their equipment goes down or you have questions on how to use.
- Physical Stage
* Roll up your beautiful backdrop, place in the container you received it in and label it. Place in your storage off the floor for your next event.
* Confirm that the venue and your decorator have removed the risers, carpet and seating. If the benches are yours you can store them for your next event. #benchesarebest
* Confirm your A/V company picks up all of their equipment. The best time for this is directly at the end of the last presentation so items don’t go missing or damaged.
* Follow up with any furniture store that borrowed you your stage decoration to confirm they delivered their product to the lucky winner
* Confirm all winners have picked up their prize
* Confirm that you have the list of each winner and what they won---for your post-event reports
* Gather the pictures you have of each winner from the stage, for your post-event reports
* Send thank you notes to each presenter
* Secure and schedule the speakers that resonated with your event… for your next event. (Yes! Even if it’s a year away)
* Ask for referrals from your presenters for other speakers that would benefit your event
* Communicate with your emcee. Ask for feedback on what went well and what could be changed for next event.
* Contract your emcee for your next event. #nevertooearly
* Communicate with your PR team to receive stats and data on each presenter. (social media posts and mentions, number of interviews and on which stations).
* Send presenters copies of magazine and newspaper articles where they were interviewed.
And most importantly…use your stage schedule as early as you can when you are speaking to media, being interviewed, or discussing your event. The sooner you know who is presenting on your stages, and the topic of their presentations, the media can interact with that making for better and more interesting coverage for a longer time frame leading up to your event. #givingyoumorepublicity.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this series on Stages in your event. Please post any comments below-we’d LOVE to hear from you!
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