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8 PowerPoint Tricks and Tips that will Enhance Your Presenter’s Talk
speakersbureau
Dec 30, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan

speaker

The Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA), a recognized authority in the cold chain industry  where every product retains quality and safety, holds several conferences throughout the year for its members. Rather than having each presenter come up with their own PowerPoint that could be full of problems for attendees, they have become proactive and give their speakers a template to follow that is customized for every program. 

They recently shared in PCMA's Convene the following tips that work best with presentation services audio visual equipment.

Here are the tips you are welcome to provide to your speakers: 

Tip #1: Simplicity is a Beautiful Thing. 

A good rule of thumb is 50 words or less on a slide. However, I believe the fewer words,the better. Keep only the text on the slide that will remind the presenter what they need to cover. Reading a slide is a big "no-no". 

Tip #2: Choose Legible Font Styles. 

Clear, large font types, such as Arial or Tahoma, work well in most room settings. GCCA recommends a size of at least 18 points while Guy Kawasaki states the minimum should be 30. Know the room set up and make certain the person in the back of the room can view the presentation with ease. 

Tip #3: Keep Fonts Consistent. 

Don't start out with one font and then move to another and yet another on every page. You can have a different font for the title versus the body but keep those font choices consistent throughout the presentation. 

Tip #4: Make sure the Font and Background Colors don't Clash. 

Chose colors that compliment each other and are easily visible. Putting a yellow font on a white background won't work; but that same text color on a black background will pop. 

Tip #5: Photos Should be Proportional. 

If you add photos to your presentation, go to the Picture Tool tab and re-size the height or width on the top right part of the page. If you choose to re-size the width, the height will scale automatically. Try and standardize on the same width or height for each photo throughout the presentation. 

Tip #6: Use Video and Sound. 

Save all your video and sound files within the presentation. It is very important that you work with an onsite AV Technician to make certain the right speakers are available to project the sound to the audience. Without the proper sound system, your video is useless. 

Tip #7: Compress Your Files. 

Make certain to compress your videos and photos before distributing your content to conference service organizers. This will allow them to easily load your presentation if they rent iPads for attendees.

Tip #8: Rehearse Your Presentation at Least Once.  

Before you deliver your presentation to the audience, meet with the AV technician to run through your talk from a sound, lighting and timing perspective. Even though you have given your presentation several times, you haven't delivered it in front of this audience or using this venue.  

SmartSource Rentals is your one-shop stop when renting audio visual equipment. With 21 locations to serve you, they have a plethora of presentation services audio visual equipment for your next meeting or event! 

Holiday Holidays
13_12_25_christmas_lights_tree_w640
Dec 25, 2013 by Melissa Bailey

Christmas Tree in Snow

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world,

and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. 

~ Norman Vincent Peale

 

Happy Holidays from our family to yours

Overcome Feedback Phobia! Use Comments to Create Great Meetings Every Time
feedback__ssr
Dec 23, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan

feedback

If you are like me, you dread the "Please step into my office" or "We need to talk" start to a conversation. Immediately, visions of criticism and negative comments jump into your mind. We all think of feedback, even constructive feedback, as a terrible thing and if we don't like it, how could our speakers, sponsors and exhibitors? 

But what if we are wrong? That feedback is exactly what strong leaders crave and want – that it makes them a great leader in so many ways and builds a better, more engaging organization. 

Harvard Business Review recently completed two studies and found the following: 

  • In a survey of 51,900 executives, those who asked for feedback on a continuous basis, were ranked 86% in overall leadership effectiveness by their bosses, colleagues and subordinates. It appears that the best leaders ask more people, more often for comments and are not fearful of the results. 

    On the other hand, those leaders who rarely or never ask for feedback were ranked 15% in overall leadership effectiveness. 
     

  • In a survey of 22,700 leaders, those who gave honest feedback to subordinates, even if it was difficult, ranked 77% in employee engagement. 

    Those who skirted or avoided issues ranked 25% in employee engagement and their subordinates often times disliked their jobs and frequently thought about quitting. 

How can meeting professionals use this data? Here are two key takeaways

  1. Poll everyone at every meeting. 

    Wireless audience response systems are a great way to easily and anonymously gather feedback about your speakers, meeting and trade show. The method is simple and only takes attendees a few moments to respond. In addition, you can store the data and review it at a later date. 

    If your rent iPads, encourage attendees to send you an email or use social channels to share what is on their mind. Monitor all channels and respond as quickly as possible. 

    If an attendee, speaker or exhibitor gives you feedback, log it within a central location such as Google Drive. Don't ask them to send you an email or text. The burden is on you to respond to their needs.
     

  2. Be honest…even if it hurts.

    If a presenter bombed or exhibitor was over the top, it is best that you give them the direct feedback presented to you by your attendees. Don't sugarcoat the information; give it to them straight. This is the only way they will learn and improve. Not asking them back to your conference, is not the right solution. It just allows them the opportunity to continue to be terrible at someone else's conference. 

    In addition, if attendees take the time to give you improvements and you can't make them because of budgetary or time restrictions this year, be honest and tell them when you will address their concerns. 

In summary, constantly monitoring your attendees through Audience Response System rentals and being direct with your stakeholders is the way to build trust and engagement at your conferences. 

SmartSource Rentals, your total technology solutions provider, has a breadth and depth of feedback engagement tools including wireless Audience Response systems, iPads and much more. Give them a call today at 800.888.8686 to get started! 

Should Your Trade Show Speakers be Compensated? 6 Meeting Professionals Speak Out
money
Dec 20, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan
Traci Browne, a trade show consultant with Red Cedar Marketing, moderates a weekly Twitter session called #ExpoChat where meeting professionals around the world can chime in about the latest topics facing the expo and trade show business.
Last month, Browne took up the topic of compensation for presenters — should they be compensated or not and if so,what is the right amount.
Below is a summation of the responses and how interactive technology tool rentals can help spread the speaker’s message without adding a lot of cost to your event.
Question: Do you think all speakers should be compensated for delivering education at a trade show? Why or why not? 
SHOULD BE PAID
Stephanie Selesnick, President of International Trade Information stated the following, If you want to hold speakers accountable for great work, pay them. If not, use volunteers.”
Justine Savage, Marketing Coordinator at Nimlok shared, Event planners might assume that the exposure opportunity is payment enough for their time, expertise and insights. I don’t agree.” 
Marlys Arnold, Founder the Exhibit Marketers Café said, “Show organizers and planners don’t work for free, why should we speakers be expected to do so?” 
SHOULD NOT BE PAID
Scott A. Lee, Principal at S.A.L. Event Consultants stated, “Speakers from exhibiting companies should be rewarded with better promotion and free registration.”
Dana Freker Doody, Vice President, Corporate Communications at The Expo Group chimed in with this comment, “The trouble is, by me speaking, my company gets attention which is better than payment. I’m accountable to my company to get asked to speak again. I want to do well.” 
Question: If I do pay my speakers, what is adequate compensation? 
Sanne Jolles, Market Research Manager at Amsterdam RAI felt, “The payment should depend on the request whether it’s a keynote speech, participating in a panel or presenting a short session.” 
“At least a minimum stipend should be paid to all speakers. Several meeting associations offer one or two nights and partial registration, but very few help with travel expenses,” stated Arnold.
HOW TECHNOLOGY CAN HELP
If you cannot pay the speaker their full payment, the results from this Twitter chat state you should offer them at least the following:
  • A stipend
  • In kind offering, such as free registration and sponsorship or
  • Reimbursement for their travel expenses

However, sometimes this is not enough to draw in the type of presenter you really want. Here are some ways that technology can be used to help promote your speakers:

  • Allow them to run their videos, photos and bios on charging stations, video wall rentals or touch panel kiosks
  • Put their information on the Wi-Fi splash page
  • If you rent iPads, put together a gamification app where attendees can win a prize by learning more about the speaker
  • Put all presentations on SlideShare and encourage attendees to follow along on their second screen technology
  • Let presenters guest blog and promote their content during the meeting

In the end, you need to find out what your speakers want and be willing to customize your offerings to meet their needs.

SmartSource Rentals is a total technology solution provider that has 21 locations to serve you! Contact them today to learn more about their state-of-the-art offerings!

 

Is Your Conference Unique? Research States Not Really
apples
Dec 18, 2013 by Melissa Bailey

apples

Velvet Chainsaw, an association consulting firm, recently surveyed their 30+ clients in search of the answer to the above question. In a nutshell, here is what they found out – Your conference, whether you want to admit it or not, is just like all other conferences.  

The thought of this makes me shutter as a meeting planner. But deep down inside, I know this to be true for most conferences. As Velvet Chainsaw so eloquently surmises it, "become relevant or die". They state that conference planners' thinking fall into one or more of the following buckets:

  • The Status-Quo is Good
  • Risk is not Part of the Plan or
  • The Meeting Needs to be all Things to all Attendees

Below are the 3 questions Velvet Chainsaw states planners need to focus on in order to develop their conference "sweet spot". And oh by the way, they will require change, risk and probably targeting your audience better. Here they are: 

1). What does your conference need to do to provide a unique experience to your stakeholders? 

  • What are your overall company objectives?
  • Does the conference support those business goals?
  • What unique benefits do you provide attendees and how is that different from your competition? 

One thing that is very important in today's meeting world, is the ability to tell your company and conference story in visual ways. There are many ways to do this — through a video wall rental unitdigital signage or touch panel screens — which can tell your story via social feeds, blog postings, videos and photos.  

2). Where can your conference win in the marketplace? 

  • Is your conference competitively positioned? 
  • How are you separated from your competitors? 

As you already know, it is difficult to get attendees to attend any conference, let alone yours! Not only do you have to consider your price, the product you are delivering and the location of the event, but probably more importantly to the attendee is how your conference stacks up against other like conferences they could be attending, and the opportunity costs of losing 1-5 days away from the office. All of this has to go into your thinking when positioning your event. It will require research and one of the easiest way to gather that research from attendees is by asking them questions where they can respond via wireless Audience Response Systems

3). What is your conference attendee opportunity? 

  • How will your attendees participate in your event? 
  • How are you going to solve attendee challenges and problems? 

There are many ways to maximize the attendee experience, but the best way is to keep your event interactive and allow them to talk to you through a variety of mediums including social media, email and texting. By allowing for interactivity through Audience Response rentals or iPads rentals that have social media preloaded onto each system, you are providing attendees a way to easily interact with each other, your staff, speakers and exhibitors. 

In summary, meeting planners need to create a unique value proposition to targeted attendees in order to make conferences unique and stand out from the rest. 

SmartSource Rentals is prepared to arm you with the right interactive technology tool rentals that will help make your meeting unique and allow for maximum engagement with your attendees. Give them a call today at 800.888.8686 to learn more about their offerings! 

Is Your Conference Unique? Research States Not Really
unique_apples__ssr
Dec , 2013 by DeDe Mulligan

Velvet Chainsaw, an association consulting firm, recently surveyed their 30+ clients in search of the answer to the above question. In a nutshell, here is what they found out – Your conference, whether you want to admit it or not, is just like all other conferences.  

The thought of this makes me shutter as a meeting planner. But deep down inside, I know this to be true for most conferences. As Velvet Chainsaw so eloquently surmises it, "become relevant or die". They state that conference planners' thinking fall into one or more of the following buckets:

  • The Status-Quo is Good
  • Risk is not Part of the Plan or
  • The Meeting Needs to be all Things to all Attendees

Below are the 3 questions Velvet Chainsaw states planners need to founiquecus on in order to develop their conference "sweet spot". And oh by the way, they will require change, risk and probably targeting your audience better. Here they are: 

  1. What does your conference need to do to provide a unique experience to your stakeholders? 

    – What are your overall company objectives?
    – Does the conference support those business goals?
    – What unique benefits do you provide attendees and how is that different from your competition? 

    One thing that is very important in today's meeting world, is the ability to tell your company and conference story in visual ways. There are many ways to do this — through a video wall rental unit, digital signage or touch panel screens — which can tell your story via social feeds, blog postings, videos and photos.  
     

  2. Where can your conference win in the marketplace? 

    – Is your conference competitively positioned? 
    – How are you separated from your competitors? 

    As you already know, it is difficult to get attendees to attend any conference, let alone yours! Not only do you have to consider your price, the product you are delivering and the location of the event, but probably more importantly to the attendee is how your conference stacks up against other like conferences they could be attending, and the opportunity costs of losing 1-5 days away from the office. All of this has to go into your thinking when positioning your event. It will require research and one of the easiest way to gather that research from attendees is by asking them questions where they can respond via wireless Audience Response Systems
     

  3. What is your conference attendee opportunity? 

    – How will your attendees participate in your event? 
    – How are you going to solve attendee challenges and problems? 

    There are many ways to maximize the attendee experience, but the best way is to keep your event interactive and allow them to talk to you through a variety of mediums including social media, email and texting. By allowing for interactivity through Audience Response rentals or iPads rentals that have social media preloaded onto each system, you are providing attendees a way to easily interact with each other, your staff, speakers and exhibitors. 

In summary, meeting planners need to create a unique value proposition to targeted attendees in order to make conferences unique and stand out from the rest. 

SmartSource Rentals is prepared to arm you with the right interactive technology tool rentals that will help make your meeting unique and allow for maximum engagement with your attendees. Give them a call today at 800.888.8686 to learn more about their offerings! 

If You Think it’s Expensive to Hire a Professional Meeting Supplier, Just Hire an Amateur
amateur__aves
Dec 16, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan

amateur

Meeting in a Box. Meeting Toolkit. Audio Visual included as part of the standard venue contract. 

This is a meeting planner's dream, right? Easy-peasy. You will handle the AV by rolling in the PowerPoint presentation equipment, following directions or relying on the venue to handle it. One less thing to worry about, right? Wrong! 

Audiovisual, computers and connectivity are vital to your meeting. Without presentation services equipment to give you the visuals and proper sound and lighting rentals you are dead in the water. Your attendees are mentally gone because even the best speaker in the world is no good to the audience if he/she cannot be seen and heard. Even worse, is if the PowerPoint presentation equipment freezes in the middle of the talk and the speaker has a meltdown waiting for it to be repaired. 

But in everyone's constant quest to cut back on their budget, renting audio visual equipment from a professional organization seems costly when compared to the "meeting in a box" options listed above. Let's examine the true costs of relying on an amateur versus a tried and true professional. 

An amateur will think they know what equipment they need and scramble at the last minute for additional conference rentals, thus boosting their overall AV costs. 

A professional will help you look good by vetting all the equipment needed for the event and putting those needs in writing.  

 

An amateur is responsible for setting up and tearing down the AV once or twice a year. 

A professional does this for a living and has a cadre of support staff including certified AV technicians, project managers, and account executives who setup, support and strike audio visual several times a week. 

 

An amateur sets up the same equipment meeting after meeting, year-after-year. 

A professional keeps up on meeting and event trends, invests in new equipment and can serve as a creative consultant to give you choices. 

 

An amateur retrofits the speaker's presentation to the equipment. 

A professional understands what a speaker needs and provides the right equipment at the right time. 

 

An amateur calls the hotline, waits for a call back and shrugs their shoulders as to what the problem is and how it can be solved.

A professional is either onsite to fix the problem immediately or provides 24/7 telephone tech support with knowledgeable, courteous staff. 

 

But most of all, if the AV doesn't work or isn't right for the event, there is a good chance of losing your attendees for good,  which is the most costly of all!

Don't take that chance! Rely on the professionals at SmartSource Rentals to meet and exceed your expectations with state-of-the-art interactive technology tool rentals! Give them a call at 800.888.8686 to get the process started today! 

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