1. Have a conference logistics Hot Line so people can call if something isn’t right. Alternatively, have a number that people can use to text to ask questions, complain, make suggestions.
2. Put stage cues on the floor and work with the speakers beforehand if you have walking speakers.
3. Have big, powerful microphones.
4. Work with a good production team.
5. Have HUGE SCREENS on the stage, behind the speakers; display on those screens names and faces. The speakers will feel more important and the audience will pay more attention to what these people are saying.
6. Use dynamic and energizing visuals during the space between sessions; use a lot of red, moving fractals, etc.
7. Use energizing music during the space between sessions and to introduce speakers. Make it loud, upbeat, and make sure you use songs with words that both inspire and are on point with your overall goal/message for the day.
8. Have a live music act. If possible, make it interactive with the audience. Music is a shared experience.
9. Use search lights and light effects for the room (no strobes unless you want to induce seizures in your audience).
10. If some of your speakers use PowerPoint presentations: a). Vet them beforehand for brevity, word count, readability, and bore-factor; b). Brand/co-brand consistently; c). Make sure some screens show the slides and some screens show the face of the speaker; d). Make sure that the slides stand on their own and that people can use them outside the conference without too much context.
11. Have a sign language interpreter.
12. Fashion matters! Pay attention to the height of the stage. If the audience is way below the stage (audience head is at feet level for speakers, which is common) advise your women speakers to wear pants or longer skirts. Advise your male speakers to wear long socks (pant legs can hike up when speakers sit down and it looks weird) and/or interesting socks and shoes. Give your audience something nice to look at.
13. For your male speakers: ask them to wear either a suit or tops and bottoms that are distinctly different, otherwise stage lights can make a too-close-in-color jacket and pants combination look weird.
14. Make sure all your speakers have a call to action or a summary to give to the audience. Tell people what they should do – what to take away, summarize for them, make it easy for the audience to implement what they are learning and taking back.
15. Create communities of engagement. Create a way for people in the audience to know one another (who is attending and how to get in touch with one another).
16. Promote, promote, promote! Before and during the event.