00:10 – How do you organize your schedule?
00:45 – How do you deal with speakers who go over time?
01:48 – Never say THIS (It is a sure sign of an unprofessional)
02:28 – Getting your audience into the room on time
03:55 – Should you film an event for content?
05:45 – Is a five-day event overkill?
06:55 – The live exercise portion
08:26 – How big a crew should you have?
09:37 – Why the food costs so much
See James’s live event tips in action at SuperFastBusiness Live 2017
James here, and today, I’ve got some follow-up questions from the last video I did, which was about running a live event.
The first question is: You do short sessions. Do you have a session and then a break? Or do you stack sessions together?
Well, I like to start the event around nine o’clock. We do a maximum of 90-minute session, then we go into morning tea. And then after morning tea, we do two blocks of 50, and then we have lunch. Then we do another two blocks of 50. We have afternoon tea. And then we have a shorter session at the end of the day and finish around about five. I don’t want to have people starting at eight. I don’t want to have people finishing at seven. At least, there’s plenty of time to do other things to catch up with each other and socialize. But keep the blocks fairly short.
When speakers go over time
So, what do you do if a speaker runs over time?
Well, unfortunately, you have an unprofessional speaker. Make sure you’re very clear with your speakers that your times are set. You need to give them some things that will help them – like put the time on a countdown in front of them. Have someone in the front row with an iPad. Have some time cards saying, 30 minutes, 15 minutes, 10 minutes, 5 minutes. And ask them to acknowledge. Just a little yes or a thumbs up so that they know that they’re on time.
Now, if they happen to be still talking at the time that you’re supposed to be finishing, just go up and help them off the stage because you need to be strict with your times. I’ll cover this more in the next little tip.
The other thing to do is if they finish early, throw it open to Q&A. Just get ready to rescue them. Get up there with your microphone and throw open the questions. And then a final strategy is if they do finish a little bit early, then break early. Give people more time to talk to each other. What a bonus – you got through the material in time.
“Advanced Event Tips”
A speaking tip
By the way, here’s a speaking tip – never say, “I don’t have much time. So I’m going to go really fast.” The audience will just groan like, ‘Oh, gosh, they’re not professional enough to structure their presentation. All that time they had to prepare and to get it right, and now they’re making me have to be overloaded?’ Don’t shift it across to the audience.
The audience will never know what you didn’t tell them. So if you’re the speaker and you’re running out of time, just give the bullet point version of what you were going to say when you rehearsed it in your room prior to the event, and give them the short version. And you know what, you might be doing them a favor.
Getting people in on time
Next question – what do you do if people don’t come into the room on time?
What a hassle. So I imagine you probably got a bell or something to walk around the room where people are gathering outside. What we do is we close our room up. We close the doors before the event. So they’re having tea and coffee. They can’t go into the room until just before we start. Then we open the doors with pomp and ceremony, and we ring a bell, and we walk around and let people know (this is where you get your crew to help) we’re starting now. I get in there on the microphone just before the time, and I announce, “Please take your seats. We’re about to start.”
“How To Run Your Event On Time”
And then this is the important part – START. Just start on time. That is the key to this whole thing. And then when you finish your session on time, go to the break. Tell them what time it starts again. Don’t tell them how many minutes. Tell them what time it starts again. And then when that time starts, same deal. Just prior, open the doors, bring people in, play some music, get it all cranked up, and then turn the music off and start. And very quickly, people will realize that you are not bluffing. That it starts on time and they will miss out if they’re not in the room. And then shut the doors to the room when you start. So if people do want to come back to the room late, they have to negotiate through a closed door. You can have a staff member to assist them and point them to a seat that’s going to be the least inconvenient for the camera crew and for other audience members.
Filming an event for content
I got asked, is it good to film events to use for content?
I mean, who’s going to sit through a two, three, four, five-day course on video? The answer is nobody. But what you should do is chapterize or modulize your training. So put it into chapters. Each of the guests I have at my event at SuperFastBusiness Live has a title, and their presentation is a self-contained unit. So I can then cut the whole event up into small modules, like 50-minute long modules. And then, we strip out the audio, and we put it on to mp3. People love to listen to audio. And you can listen to a 50-minute audio in your car, or when you’re walking the dog, or doing your exercise in the gym.
We also take the event recording and transcribe it, and we put the slides from the event with the transcription so that it’s fully illustrated. Some people, including me, love to read and scan through something. I can scan through a 50-minute presentation when it’s in a PDF, very quickly. We have nice, big font. It’s got nice headlines. And it references things that are in the video, word-for-word. And we put the slides that are associated with it.
Now if you want extra points, make a concise speaking notes version like you find from the large events where people go and make event notes. That is the easiest to consume for someone who’s interested in going through the course later. You can sell this information or you can provide it inside your membership like we do inside SuperFastBusiness membership, and it’s highly valuable.
So yes, record it. But it comes down to having the right content, to curating it carefully, weeding out all that crappy ‘Once I was lost, now I’m found. I was broke with a burnt out credit card…’ Weed all that stuff out of it. People don’t want to know about that. And weed out all the close, and the pitch, and the sales stuff. Just put the content. Keep it tight, and people will come back for more.
“How long is the ideal event?”
Is five days overkill?
Should you run a five-day event?
Look, I don’t know about you, but that’s a long time to take out of schedule. That is like rolling a bowling ball down a garden hose pipe. That’s a tough ask for someone to make that commitment. I imagine by the last few days, they forgot what day of the week it is and what they did on the first few days. So I probably wouldn’t do that. My events are two days. That’s a good time. You get in. You do some stuff. And then you go. Three days if you’re in my highest level mastermind SilverCircle, because we do a mastermind day the day prior.
But keep it tight. I think you’ve got to be respectful of people’s time. Trying to do too much can sometimes get you the wrong result, which is you’re not moving people. You’re not having impact. So keep your events very relevant. Have only the right people there. Let people know who this event is for. Let people know who this event is not for. So you only have the right people in the room. You have the right people in the room, the right content, and it’s nice and tight. One, two, or three days – great. When you start getting four, five, six or seven, I think that’s total immersion, but is that going to get you the result? Think about that.
The live exercise portion
Should you have exercises or a done-with-you component where people fill things out?
I think these are very valuable. It’s great when someone can go to an event, fill out some stuff, and come away with a result. That is great. Try not to do it too early though. If you do it straight out of the gates, they may not have the context that’s required. So set up the theme. If you’re going to do any exercises, rehearse it beforehand because anything could happen. Again, if you have the right tight themed audience, you’ve got the right people in the room, and you’re talking about the right content, and you set the exercise up well, then you can come up with gold.
Make sure that you have people to help out in case they get stuck. And if you’re presenting and you look down and you see people confused, then you need to address that fairly on. Don’t let them go through a whole 15 minute of thinking music and they’ve achieved nothing. So get down from the stage. Go and have a look around the workbook. See that they’re doing what it is they’re supposed to do and get people to acknowledge when they’re finished. Maybe they can raise their hand when they’re finished or something so you can know when to pull up stumps and to move forward. And give a few good examples of the work that was done so that if someone’s not quite sure, they know exactly what’s happening.
And what I like to do is do a case study where I work someone through the example first and then they get to do it. So that’s like I will do it, and now, we’ll all do it together. And then OK, show me some work that was done. And we lock it in. We confirm it. And we move forward. So done-with-you – very powerful, but you have to be careful.
How big a crew should you have?
How many people do you need at the event in terms of crew?
Well, I like to have five or six people for a 200-person event. If it’s a little mastermind, five people, 10 people, 15 or 25, you probably only need one or two crew. You just need someone to meet and greet, liaise with the event staff, and help you do the timekeeping. If it’s a big event, the sort of things you want your crew to do are mic running, door registrations, giving out merchandise, checking lanyards, liaising with the event staff, making sure that people have things they need – if they got special meal requirements, or they need scissors, or whatever. The weirdest things can happen. Have plenty of people around. Five or six people.
I get people who want to volunteer to do it. They’re happy to do it every year. I think some of them have actually done 12 events, which is like incredible. If you get a good crew and they know how it works, lots of communication before the event. Give them pictures of the experts who are at the events so they know who’s who, so they don’t bounce someone who’s actually speaking at the event. Something like that can happen. And you’ll have a great event. If you know someone who really should be at the event but they can’t quite afford to come, maybe a crew member is the right way that they can come to the event.
Why the food costs so much
I got a question about food. Why is food so expensive?
Well, it’s how these places make their money. The place where I run my event, it will not let me hire the ballroom unless I buy food. And I have to commit to a room block of like 70 rooms. If they don’t get booked, I pay for them. And that’s because they’re in a resort location. So depending where you are, like Sydney, resort location, that’s difficult. If you’re in a very large city in the US and there’s all sorts of convention centers, it will be very competitive. Even if I were to go across to Sydney CBD, it’ll be a very different experience for me in terms of negotiating.
So yes, it is part of the deal. But one positive about feeding your audience is they’re right there. They don’t have to run away in the breaks. You get them all back in the room. And you can give them healthy food so they’re not just like sugar gluten overloaded and all that sort of stuff. Just give them healthy stuff, and you’re going to have a really tuned-in audience. You can nourish their body as well as their mind.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed these event tips. This was in answer to some questions I got from the previous video. If you haven’t seen that, go and check it out on SuperFastBusiness Live. I’m James Schramko. Thank you for watching. I hope to see you at one of my events in the future. If you can’t make it, then grab the recordings inside SuperFastBusiness membership.
Access SuperFastBusiness Live 2017 – Details HERE
Found this episode useful? Rate us on iTunes.