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Take Some Stress Out of Your Next Summit or Conference

Improvisation can take much of the worry out of planning for your business or organization’s next major conference. There are a lot of moving parts: sticking to your agenda, keeping your audience engaged or just encountering the unexpected. Look to facilitators that can think on their feet to take much of the guesswork out of the event. In many of the events we’ve been a part of, we’ve found improvisation to be more than just a talking point.

In late August, we were commissioned to speak at a half day conference for educators. We were one of a handful of speakers, and our presentation was on communication and culture. Our speaking time was right in the middle of the half day event, so in our initial meeting with the host organization, our contact had a specific directive for us: make sure they’re engaged. “Deliver your content,” he said. “And make it fun.”

We’re firm believers that humor is often an undervalued delivery mechanism for content. It engages and disarms people, allowing them to be more receptive to what they’re hearing. Of course we said, “No problem.”

On the day of the event, about 30 minutes before we were to take the stage, the event coordinator dashed into the prep room and told us that they were significantly ahead of schedule. Depending on how quickly the current speaker made his exit, we’d need to stretch our presentation by between 5 and 20 minutes. We needed to make sure we stayed on stage until 10:30.

Again we said, “No problem.” And when we walked off the stage that day, the backstage clock read 10:30 on the dot.

In another instance - an all day training for a leadership team - we were asked to facilitate between each speaker and coach. The contact wasn’t exactly sure how long each program he had lined up would last. “I don’t know if we’ll need you today for 20 minutes or two hours,” he said.

We said, “No problem.”

If you’re planning a training, conference, summit or retreat, consider using improvisation to take some of the stress out of the event. Even if you’re using your own facilitators, reach out to us for some ideas and techniques for handling the unexpected or keeping large groups engaged. We’re happy to share our thoughts and experiences to make your event a worry-free success.

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