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IET Venues launch speaker wellness guide

IET Venues shares a new guide that highlights key considerations for addressing the wellbeing of public speakers, stipulating the differences between virtual, hybrid and in-person events.

The importance of the speaker

Speakers play an integral role in the success of an event. Engaging the audience with an interesting topic and captivating delivery will keep delegates coming back time and time again, and a successful speaker programme can be the make or break of an entire event.

Public speaking can be daunting, even for those who do it regularly. While we perceive speakers as experts in their chosen topic, our research highlighted that the majority of speakers do not do that role as their main job.

While they are likely to be well-versed in the content of their talk, delivering it to an audience doesn’t necessarily come with training or a wealth of experience. Considerations are increasingly being made at venues for the wellbeing of staff, planners, and delegates, but what about the wellness of the speaker?

Research findings

The London and Birmingham venues of IET Venues have produced a guide to give to speakers, aimed at supporting their wellbeing to make their experience easier.

The research suggests that more than half of speakers find it less nerve-wracking to speak virtually and in the comfort of familiar surroundings. Many revealed that although the prospect of a live audience is more overwhelming, it is easier to engage when able to determine audience reactions.

Matters of speaker wellness are, therefore, completely different depending on whether they are attending physical or virtual events, and even more challenging if the event is hybrid.

Speaker wellness guide

This new guide aims to eliminate the problems that speakers face, such as technological difficulties, confidence, and preparation time.

We have created templates for event planners to provide to speakers, designed to be filled in with key information such as times, access and technology types to reduce speaker stress and ensure that they have been given all the necessary information beforehand.

IET Venues can also provide a number of resources to streamline procedures for speakers, including green rooms where they can relax, collect themselves, run through their notes, and have something to eat or drink before beginning their presentation on stage.

Sean Spencer, head of IET Venues and facilities, said: “So much unavoidable fluctuation in the event planning process this past year has forced businesses to assess the impact on their people. We are very aware that planning a presentation to an in-person audience is an entirely different skill to speaking virtually, and the impact on last-minute pivots to the production of events can have an underestimated impact on the speaker and their preparation. It was this initial conversation that led us to compiling this comprehensive guide that predominantly lists such simple steps that can make the world of difference for a speaker."

Spencer added: “Having spoken at events myself, I know what a positive impact pre-event communication can have on my preparedness, and equally, the challenges of an entirely unfamiliar venue, a lack of brief and sparse information before an event. We hope our approach helps the entire chain of event planning to appreciate and support speakers.”