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Getting prepared as a speaker

A handy checklist to ensure your speaking, moderation or facilitation role goes smoothly on Arena.

Pre-event tech checks

There are various technical aspects which you’ll need to be prepared for. Use the checklist below to make sure you're fully prepared and clued up in preparation for the event. Make sure you join any calls organised by the event manager to talk through the list and any questions you may have.

Your checklist:

  • Use a laptop (for processor and memory).
  • Close all other non-essential applications.
  • Ensure sufficient Internet bandwidth; a minimum upload and download of 5 Mbps. Please use speedtest.net to check this, in exactly the same location you’ll be speaking from. Ideally, an ethernet cable connection is best if possible. If using WiFi, try to minimise usage in the rest of your household, and try to sit close to the router to maximise signal strength. Furthermore, make sure there is an internet fallback - a phone to dongle from (consider using Speedify).
  • Turn off desktop notifications or instant chat programmes.
  • Make sure you’ve tested the speaker access process so you know exactly how to enter ahead of the event day.
  • Join any rehearsals so you know exactly how to work the tech, what you’ll need to do, and when you'll need to do it.

Best practice for speakers

Naturally, you’re going to want your speaking slot to go smoothly on the day. Read our guidance and top tips below.

Your checklist:

  • Go somewhere quiet (the same place you did your internet test from).
  • Make sure your laptop is plugged in! Don’t rely on the battery - it will inevitably run out during your live stream.
  • Do not have the event open in Arena in another window on your laptop while you’re speaking. Seeing yourself on a 15-second delay is incredibly distracting and causes audio feedback.
  • Only have the studio open - be it restream, streamyard, Zoom, MiMo etc. Close down all other programs that you don’t need.
  • Please use headphones with an integrated mic (earbuds are most discrete) as this will cut out feedback possibilities and reduce external noise interruptions such as laptop fan/keystrokes.
  • Front-facing natural light is best; try using natural light that comes from behind your screen. 
  • Adjust camera (external webcam preferred) to eye-level. You may need to put your computer on a riser.
  • Standing, rather than sitting, on-camera keeps the energy high.
  • Look behind you, make sure you have a good backdrop for your audience with minimal distractions.
  • Please don't use a virtual background unless you have a green screen, as it can distort the image.
  • Get comfortable - have plenty of water, tissues, and other comfort items handy.
  • Keep your mobile next to your screen. This is important so that the event manager can call/WhatsApp you in case you are “on mute” or there is something going on in the background! Make sure you disable all other notifications/put the phone on silent mode. You could also open the speaker link in your mobile browser and add '/speaker-view' at the end of the room URL. This will show you the Q&A and live reactions without the distraction of the screen and live chat.

Information for on the day

Here are some handy bits of information you’ll need for on the day. Make sure you read through the below list thoroughly and also familiarise yourself with what to do if something goes wrong.

Your checklist:

  • If there are any urgent issues on the day, please call/SMS/WhatsApp your event manager, who will provide their contact details in advance. Your event manager will also provide you with an alternative point of contact in case anything goes wrong and they cannot answer.
  • You will join the event via a speaker link provided by the event organiser. Please arrive 10 minutes ahead of your speaking slot. Once all speakers have arrived, your event manager will take the session live at the listed time. 
  • Our technical lead will run all of the live stream, sound, and visuals. They will help make any necessary adjustments before going live, as well as do a countdown so you know exactly when the session is live.
  • You will be visible to attendees at all times during your session time. Please do not turn off your camera during the session as this will disrupt any live editing process we're running.
  • When the session is finished, please DO NOT leave the call/close the tab until you have clearance from the event manager. If you exit the call too early, this may disrupt the session display for the audience.

 

If you're an organiser, send this article straight to your speakers and hopefully it will help them to be fully prepared for the big day. Good luck!