Questions to ask the Meeting Organiser

Here’s a list of questions to ask the Meeting Organiser. Adapt the questions to your situation – not every question will be applicable to every type of presentation.

About the audience

1. What are the backgrounds of the audience (age, education, industry, etc.)
2. What are the audience expectations of your talk?
3. What talks were popular with this audience in the past, and why?
4. Why have you asked me to talk to this group? Who are the other speakers (if this is not known)

About the presentation format

1. How long is allocated to the presentation session?
2. Is there time allocated to a Question & Answer session? If so, how long?
3. Will there a person to introduce me? If so, ask for details.
4. Will the person who introduces me also take the role of chairperson ie: manage the Q&A session?

About the room

1. What is the size of the room? (how many does it hold, how far away is the furthest person)
2. What will be the configuration of seats (assuming they are seated)?
3. What is the lighting like? Windows?
4. Is the stage at the same level as the audience or elevated?
5. How large is the stage? Will I be able to walk around on it? (Sometimes there are restrictions on this because of filming or lighting).
6. Will I be able to look at the room before my talk, ideally the day before or the morning of the presentation?

About the Audio-Visual Equipment

1. How many projectors/screens are there?
2. Will I be able to use my own laptop or will I have to load my slides onto the conference laptop? (if this is the case, when do you require my slides)
3. Will I be able to see my laptop from where I’m speaking?
4. Will there be a confidence monitor? (A separate screen in front of you to see the output people see on the projected image behind you — so you don’t have to turn back to the audience to see what’s on the slide.)
5. If your talk has audio – Will I be able to use the sound system in the room?
6. Will the talk be videoed? If so, how will the video be used? Are you able to get a copy of it?

About microphones

1. Will microphones be used? (note: if they are being used – you should use one too, even if you think you don’t need to.)
2. Will it be a headset, a lavalier mike, a handheld mike or microphone at the podium. (note: a lavalier or handheld microphone are your best choices).
3. Will there be a mike for audience members to be able to ask questions?
4. Will it be a mike that is passed around, or will audience members have to come to a particular place to ask questions?

About internet access

Note: For most talks do everything possible to avoid needing internet access – it is a massive opportunity for breakdown! The only talks absolutely requiring internet access are technology talks involving live demonstrations of software (even then have a Plan B).
1. Will there be reliable internet access?
2. Will there be a separate WiFi network for presenters?
3. Will there be an Ethernet cable available on the stage?

Other logistical details

1. Cellphone number of Meeting Organiser
2. Address of venue
3. Parking instructions or recommendations.