21 June 2013 Go back to the main page  
 Background info

The following points set out some of the key learnings from ten years of conceptualising, planning and reworking that may be useful to consider when starting a similar venture:

1. Get top speakers who present their cases in a most lively and interesting manner. In fact, on a big stage this is even more important than the topic itself!

2. A professional host who ensures the audience is involved, engaged and entertained over the day is also crucial.

3. Create some exclusive content, such as a major joint study, that is presented for the very first time on that day.

4. Plan the entire day as minutely as possible. Leave as little as possible to chance and fate (almost like a script for a live TV show). Get a director and create a dramaturgy and choreography for the entire day. Do one or two rehearsals in advance. Put the host in contact with the speakers early on, let them stand on stage the day before the show and let them run through their presentations to make them feel comfortable. A the rehearsal the day before is indispensable. Of course you need a special location to gather so many people and unfortunately this is not as easy as one thinks.

5. For the sake of the audience, be strict. Don’t allow your speakers to show up late or unrehearsed or with a new presentation or send a last-minute stand-in. It’s your show.

6. It may be a research-based conference, yet you are representing television - so try to add some TV flavor to the day. Show a lot of professional video (remember the old adage – “It’s television, not telehearing!”), use professional sound, lighting, camera crew etc. Consider live talks or at least video interviews with TV celebrities, if they have something relevant to say to your media audience.

7. Don’t forget to entertain. Over the course of an entire day there should be some space for live music, some comedy or a show-act.

8. Interact with the audience. Make them feel like a participant, not just like a visitor for the day. Use voting devices, interview participants in the audience, let them guess TV facts and figures and let them win something that is exciting and unique with TV, e.g. a backstage visit at a big TV production.

9. Plan enough breaks over the day. People like to network and to eat without having to hurry.

10. Spend as much money as you can on a decent location and great food. You know how spoiled all media people are… Even bad coffee can kill a great day. Make the event as easy as possible to attend. If possible, choose a central location with convenient access by plane, train or car, easy parking, short walking distances, quick check-in etc.