Even the most charismatic business people find the idea of hosting a conferencing event intimidating. Hosting means making connections, shaking hands, and public speaking.
Not everyone is a natural speaker, and not everyone is capable of approaching new people. As a host, it’s essential you greet as many people as possible – if not everyone in attendance. That’s a lot of greetings, and a lot more small talk!
If hosting sounds like something you’re not capable of, you’re forgetting its benefits. Hosting a conferencing event is great for business. Conferencing events build relationships with potential customers and suppliers, generate sales and referrals, and increase brand recognition and loyalty. They also position the host as an expert in his field (or her field because hosting is not gender specific). It’s time to learn to “work a room,” and host an event like a pro. It is possible to overcome shyness, and impossible not to benefit from a conferencing event.
So, don’t waste any more time – read on to discover how you can overcome intimidation, and host an event that grows your business.
Planning and Organization
As a host, you’ll preform best if you’re organized. Your job begins long before the event takes place. And, it begins with planning and organizing.
Your greatest asset is going to be a mobile event app, capable of recording all of your event essentials. The app can help you create a strategic planning timelines, which includes all of the most pertinent details, including:
- Planning (agendas, calendars, etc.)
- Attendee networking
- Sponsorship opportunities
- Surveys and polling
- Lead scanning
The better organized you are, the more confident you’ll be when you host your event. In short, don’t skim over details, and don’t leave yourself unprepared.
Practice Public Speaking
As host, you’re responsible for making speeches, introductions, and announcing guest speakers. This is quite a bit of public speaking, but it’s nothing you can’t master without practice. Here are some tips from Huffington Post that should improve your public speaking, and thus help you to better engage your audience:
- Familiarize yourself with your audience
- Make eye contact
- Don’t rely on your notes (too much)
- Practice in the event space (on stage, or at a podium)
- Take pauses often and pace yourself
Practice making introductions with a trusted confidant. Role-play with this person. For example, have him act as prominent businessman whom you’re introducing to the world’s greatest marketer. Then, have him act as a supplier whom you’re introducing to a young entrepreneur. Imagine the sorts of people you’ll meet, and describe them efficiently as possible. Keep introductions short and succinct.
Understanding Body Language
In an article titled, “How to Work a Room Like You Own the Place,” Forbes’ contributor Deborah L. Jacobs warns: “Folding your arms in front of your body and looking at the floor forms a barrier between you and the other person and gives the impression that you don’t want to talk to them.” Your body language can be extremely off-putting, so it’s important to remain aware of how you’re standing, sitting, and holding yourself overall.
It’s equally important that you give a good handshake. Jacobs writes: “Mind your handshake. Most meetings start with a cordial handshake. Put out your full hand, avoiding the half-handed (and halfhearted) grip, which can feel like a cold fish. Shake firmly, but don’t make it a bone crusher. Maintain eye contact and smile as you greet your new potential client.”
Be Yourself and Be Confident
The best piece of advice anyone can give a new host is: Be yourself! You’re wonderful, successful, and you’re very capable. Trust yourself above all, and try to have fun at your event.
By Ashley Andrews