Speaker instructions are sent out by conference organisers to standardise content, minimise areas of confusion and ultimately to aid conference presenters. Not all presenters view speaker instructions in the same manner. Try to understand the aim of the instructions is to help in the delivery of a great presentation.
I have experience of speaker instructions from both sides of the email; as a conference organiser and as a participant. The complexity of issues involved to deliver the combination of correct presentation to correct conference at correct time with correct slides and appropriate practise cannot be minimised when there may be so much to do before the particular conference. The slightest alterations in this complex situation will have significant collateral effects. It is still important to follow speaker instructions.
I have experience of speaker instructions from both sides of the email; as a conference organiser and as a participant. The complexity of issues involved to deliver the combination of correct speaker to correct room at correct time with correct slides and appropriate amplification cannot be minimised when there may be hundreds of speakers across multiple days, sessions and rooms. The slightest alterations by an individual speaker for whatever reason will have significant collateral effects. It is important to follow speaker instructions.
(I hope the intended humour is clear)
The main challenge for presenters is preparation. The honest will admit that their preparation has not been ideal and changes (let’s not call them the 2nd draft) may still occur all the way up to final delivery. Recognising that conference organisers need to know at least that something will be delivered, best advice is to offer a very rough construct that, if nothing else changed, could still be the supportive media (p2). Remember, you can even go commando! Here, one might also submit to the request to use official templates.
There are design, artistic and educational reasons not to use a template. Organising committees may have their own reasons, not least as markers in video recording and issues from their sponsors. A negotiating position is to use a template as a “title” slide and as a “closing” slide. The actual use will be as a holding slide before you begin and as a holding slide whilst questions are asked. If possible don’t use templates.
The improved presentation that results from many late nights, some practise and even proper rehearsal must be delivered on the day of the event to the appropriate place. This is the responsibility of the speaker. As per the speaker instructions visit the Speaker Preparation Room and discuss with IT/AV the upgraded slides. They can update the directory and remove the old version.
It remains the speaker’s responsibility to ensure that the finalised version of the file is that which will be projected in the particular room that the delivery will take place. Some conferences use a central repository and electronically send to other computers to project. Go to this room at least one session ahead of time and personally review the slides on stage, using the specific remote control for the room.
This responsibility for additional props such as balloons, vases and candles belongs to the speaker, not to IT/AV. Speaker instructions will also be clear regarding order of speakers (which may change)and preparation for the session. Make sure to comply with all these. There is no space for “artistic preparation” in a safe and sacred space if the organisers want all 5 speakers to be on stage for the whole session. Finally, ensure that you have personally met the Chair of the session and clarified both your name and chosen introduction. Now relax.
Speaker instructions are just that, not a choice. Failing to follow these instructions can lead to huge problems. The responsibility to deliver a great presentation includes these speaker instructions.