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The pre-amble!

Never before has the need to curate and create a targeted, relevant and engaging program been more important to ensure you attract and retain your audience in your online event.

For now at least, gone are the days where your live event gave you the freedom to build lots of other exciting and engaging components around your speaker program that make live events such a wonderful experience. It’s the speaker program that is now in sharp focus.

HOWEVER…. that for the most part the sourcing, selection, curating and booking professional speakers and MC’s is largely the same process…yeah!

REMEMBER to keep one thing in mind….your audience! Clearly understand how they will experience your virtual event from their end.

If you execute the planning properly you can still create an event that connects with your audience and have very happy delegates!


Why are professional speakers and MC’s are just as (if not) more important now?


  • Experience when things don’t go to plan – Your virtual event is now solely reliable on the tech platform you As we know technology can have some issues from time to time. Professional MC and Speakers have the experience and capability to deal with situations like this.
  • Marketing asset – Use your speaker and MC you engage to create some pre-event content to share with your For example it might a be a short promo video or teaser materials. Always ask them what they can provide.
  • Post event follow up materials – Most professional speakers will be able to provide you with some useful follow materials after the event to send delegates g. slide decks, key point summaries of their talks, additional resource information, book offer etc


How do you select the right professional Speaker or MC to ensure they can deliver the outcomes and connection you are looking for in an online environment?

  • Their online talk needs to be different to their live presentation – How does your speaker deliver online? Can they share examples of any previously delivered virtual keynotes or webinars or a virtual keynote showreel? If they don’t have this are they prepared to record a short sample of their talk so you can see how they come across in a virtual setting?
  • What is their studio set up like?
  • Audio and video quality – Confirm what audio and video quality is like at their end
  • Internet speed – Do they have a stable internet connection? if they are unsure then recommend they travel to a professional This however would be a cost you would need to include in your budget
  • Test and rehearse – Very important to pre-test all speakers audio/video quality well before your event and then again the day It is a complete dry run of all the equipment and platform elements you will use on the day
  • Remember…leave nothing to chance! Great professional speakers leave nothing to chance and this is particularly important for a virtual event
  • Presentation style: Webinar vs true virtual keynote
  • Do they have customised their presentations to suit your virtual event either as a webinar or virtual keynote delivery?
  • Can they create specific materials for their talk? for example a modified slide deck that is better suited to a virtual talk compared with a live one
  • Will the speakers session be interactive? Will they allow a Q& A and if so will this be just at the end or during their session? Having a professional facilitator/MC here will help with this
  • Can you work with them? Choose speakers and MC who are easy to work Ask them up- front how they work – what are their process, how accessible and available are they for you



Simple ideas to make sure your non-professional Speaker content connects when delivered online.

  • Pre-record content vs live delivery for your For non-professional speakers, pre- recording their presentations might be a better option.
  • Consider the back drop? Be deliberate about creating the backdrop/stage to make it look more like a TV set than a board room
  • Train everyone involved properly – Make sure everyone involved in creation and delivery of your event understands how your tech platform works and have full tech rehearsal (more than one of needed)
  • Less is more – both with the overall program length and for each of your The TEDx philosophy!


The role of a professional MC in your online event, how to brief them and get the best from them.


  • Your MC will work the same but different – Your professional MC will fundamentally work in the same way as they would for a live event however when selecting one they need to be familiar with how to work in a virtual environment and understand the virtual platform you are using
  • How will they work with you? Ask potential MC’s how they work and more importantly how they will partner with What are their processes, what do they need from you to do a great job?
  • Clear and concise run sheets – This is no different to a live Clear and concise run sheets with script and AV que’s critically important. A good professional MC with virtual experience will be able to work with you to create this

Watch Nigel’s virtual showreel below