1. You have a responsibility to your colleagues.
You have already taken the content brief from the client, so you know what they are looking for. You have built the agenda, you have had a hand in selecting and briefing the speakers. Colleagues have brought the execution up to this point. It is the Chair’s responsibility to the team to deliver the content on the day.
2. Be an active listener.
You have a responsibility to the Speakers to be interested in what they say, and to deliver a receptive audience. The more involved you are, the more involved the delegates will be. They will take their lead from you. Keep a couple of questions up your sleeve for the Q&A to start the ball rolling. Don’t forget a big clock in full view of the speakers – they will keep themselves to time.
3. Know your agenda, know your speakers, know your audience.
You must be absolutely at ease with the content and structure of the day, the better to put everyone else at their ease – speakers and delegates.
4. Be crystal clear.
Make it absolutely clear what you need your audience and speakers to do, where and when. Be clear about whether or not they get the slide pack, in your instruction in the use of voting pads, about the timings of the day. If you know that a presentation is likely to run over, but that the timings will balance out, tell the audience not to worry – you will send them on their way to schedule.
5. Spoil your audience.
Your delegates have taken time away from demanding jobs because this meeting is important to them. And they are terrifically important to you, because if they go home feeling that this has been time well spent, you are more likely to retain them for future meetings. If you see them shivering, put the heating up. If there are questions from the audience, can everyone hear? Is the lectern blocking their view of the presentation? What matters to them matters to you.
6. Enjoy yourself.