Public Affairs Council’s Speaker Manual
Thank you for agreeing to share your expertise with fellow public affairs practitioners at our upcoming conference. This guide contains important information about preparing for your presentation. If you have any questions, please contact John Kasander.
- Speaker’s FAQs
- Other Considerations for Speakers, including:
- Tips on Your Presentation, specifically:
- Media/Reporting Policy
- A special note for speakers from vendor or consultant firms
1. Does my appointment as a speaker automatically register me for the conference?
It depends on the event. For meetings where space is limited, we may not be able to offer complimentary registrations. For meetings with more space allowances, we traditionally invite all speakers to attend the entire event. Please reference your e-mail confirmation which will note whether or not a complimentary registration has been offered.
2. I was offered a complimentary registration. Do I still need to register for the meeting?
No. You will be automatically registered for the conference and that registration entitles you to attend the entire conference. This privilege is non-transferable.
3. I already registered for the conference as a paid attendee. Who do I contact for a refund?
There is no need to contact anyone. We will automatically refund your registration fee and contact you with the details. If you have questions regarding your refund, please feel free to contact John Kasander.
4. Do I make my own hotel and travel arrangements?
5. Who pays for my expenses, such as hotel accommodations, travel and meals?
You or your company traditionally covers your expenses. If any agreements have been made, they will be noted in the speaker confirmation you received via e-mail. If you have questions, please contact John Kasander.
6. I have noticed that my name or title is incorrect on the website. Who do I contact to update my contact information?
Please complete and return the speaker information form provided with your e-mail confirmation. Based on the information submitted, we will update your contact information as needed.
7. I would like to have a meeting with the speakers in my session. Do I have to contact the speakers myself or will other arrangements be made?
If you have a co-panelist, please coordinate your presentations to ensure compatibility and avoid duplication. Speakers are encouraged to schedule meetings as they see fit. If you have trouble reaching your co-presenter(s) or require assistance in setting up a meeting, please contact John Kasander.
8. When do I need to arrive for my session the day of the conference?
Please arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the start of your session.
9. Do I need to bring copies of my presentation for the audience?
No. In an effort to produce more environmentally friendly events, the Public Affairs Council does not provide printed copies of presentations to participants. With your permission, presentations will be posted as a PDF version to a dedicated website. Only registered attendees will be provided with a link to retrieve the presentations. If there is any confidential information included in your presentation and you do not want to have soft copies posted, please note that on your speaker information form or contact John Kasander.
10. Should I bring a backup electronic version of my presentation the day of the conference?
Yes, it is always a good idea to have a back-up on a flash drive. We prefer that you send your presentation in advance for pre-loading/testing. Please reference your speaker confirmation for the deadlines for presentations and other materials.
11. Do I need to bring my laptop the day of the conference?
No. The Council will provide a PC based laptop for your use. If you prefer to use your own computer, you may, but please ensure that the presentations of your co-presenters are also pre-loaded onto the computer since it is both time consuming and disruptive to switch laptops between presentations. We recommend that you test the laptop with our LCDs and/or other equipment well in advance to ensure compatibility. If you plan to use a Mac, you must provide any necessary cords/connectors.
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS FOR SPEAKERS
The #1 request of attendees is for speakers to provide a copy of their presentations. Attendees’ learning experience will be greatly enhanced by having takeaway materials from your session.
For meetings held at the Public Affairs Council: Click here for more information on the technology available.
For events held in hotels or conference centers: Please use the form attached to your speaker confirmation to request audiovisual equipment. Equipment can only be provided if requested in advance of the meeting. The Public Affairs Council staff reserves the right to modify requests based on the nature of the program, equipment availability and budget considerations. You’ll be notified of any changes.
The Council provides PC based technology. If you prefer to use your own computer, you may, but please ensure that the presentations of your co-presenters are also pre-loaded onto the computer since it is both time consuming and disruptive to switch laptops between presentations. We recommend that you test the laptop with our LCDs and/or other equipment well in advance to ensure compatibility. If you plan to use a Mac, you must provide any necessary cords/connectors.
For events held in hotels or conference centers: Conference session rooms are most typically set with crescent rounds (round tables with chairs halfway around the far side) or full rounds with 8 or 10 chairs. A podium with a microphone, laptop, LCD projector and screen will be provided.
For meetings held at the Public Affairs Council: Click here for more information on events held in the Public Affairs Council’s conference room including photos of our conference room, information on room set-up as well as the technology available.
For events with an international focus as well as our Board meetings, the attire is business. For all other meetings, the dress is typically business casual, so leave your suits at home. Although we make every effort to maintain a meeting room climate that is comfortable for everyone, we encourage you to bring a sweater or jacket to ensure your personal comfort.
TIPS FOR MAKING YOUR PRESENTATION MORE EFFECTIVE
Based on our experience with hundreds of conferences, we’ve found the following tips helpful for preparing a presentation:
- The #1 request of attendees is for speakers to provide a copy of their presentation. We understand that some presentations include proprietary information to make the discussion more valuable, but that cannot be shared. Where possible, please consider providing an alternate version of your presentation with the sensitive information removed for distribution.
- Stay on topic! The #2 complaint that we receive is when speakers do not address the topic as it is listed in the agenda. By submitting your presentation for review in advance, the Council can help minimize many issues.
- Don’t be afraid to aim high. Feel free to briefly review fundamentals relating to your topic in the beginning, but focus more on the higher-level details. The majority of the attendees will be mid- to senior-level and already have a good understanding of the basics.
- Provide an overview of your company/organization and a snapshot of your company/organization’s public affairs staff size, structure and budget (no more than 5 minutes).
- Explain ways others could apply your lessons to any situation or industry. There may be a mix of associations and corporations as well as organizations with smaller/larger staffs and budgets, so reference opportunities for all types of groups.
- Focus on the “whys” (rationale behind the decisions) and not just the “whats”
- Provide lessons you and your organization have learned regarding the session topic. Don’t hesitate to share the moments when you learned what NOT to do as well as what to do.
- Participants enjoy opportunities for interaction within a session. Therefore, provide ample time for questions and answers from the attendees within the session as well as at the end. If they don’t have questions, please be prepared to ask them about their experiences and ideas.
- Last but not least, HAVE FUN. Feel free to try something new or creative to make your presentation informative, engaging and memorable.
Formatting your Presentation
- Limit each slide to one concept or topic
- Use color generously but wisely, dark colors for good contrast; red for highlighting
- To make sure your overhead can be seen throughout the room, use at least 24 point font
- No more than 6 words per bullet, 6 bullets per image
- Use bold, simple, readable fonts
- Avoid mixing too many fonts or all UPPER CASE
- Vary the font size to highlight key words or phrases
- Practice using the equipment before giving your presentation
- Use consistent methods or transitions from one slide to the next (type of effect, speed or transition)
Using a Microphone
- Adjust the microphone before you begin your presentation
- Ask if you can be clearly heard
- Always repeat audience questions so that everyone can hear them
- Speak directly into the microphone, not to the side
- Lavaliere (clip on) microphones should be centered and placed no more than 4 inches from your chin
Addressing the Audience
- We strongly encourage you to stand during your presentation so that everyone in the room can easily see and hear you.
- Face the audience at all times, even when discussing a slide
- Again, always repeat audience questions so that everyone can hear them
- Do not speak longer than your allotted time so there is ample time for questions from the audience
- Maintain audience eye contact throughout your presentation
A SPECIAL NOTE FOR SPEAKERS FROM VENDORS AND CONSULTING FIRMS
We are very pleased to have you as a presenter and a resource for a Public Affairs Council program. We appreciate the fact that your presence represents a dual contribution since your income depends on billable time. Consultants are an important part of the Council’s membership and we know you will bring added value to the program.
In making your presentation, here are some guidelines we think will prove helpful. We have developed them based on feedback from our corporate and association members who each view these programs from a different perspective.
- Your counseling success is what makes you a valued contributor to any Council program. In citing your case studies and examples, focus on what the audience can learn from them rather than your role or that of your firm. Those in attendance are savvy and will get the message. Your very presence on the program sets you apart from the competition.
- The Council has a long-standing policy that speakers not overtly sell their services or products during any presentation. As noted above, your counsel and expertise will sell itself to this audience.
- The social events during our meetings are excellent opportunities for other attendees to get to know you and for you to get to know them. We have had some experiences involving consultants who use overly aggressive sales techniques. This approach generally does not work to the consultant’s advantage. We want to make sure that everyone attending our meeting feels comfortable and not like a captive audience.
- If you want to follow-up your appearance with some promotional materials for those your audience, that is your prerogative. After all, you have given our audience the benefit of your expertise.
If you have any questions about these policies, don’t hesitate to contact us.