Improving future events with lessons from the Covid-19 era

Yes, the time has come for live events to be held again! But how do we do that, and what can we take away from the time when everything was done online due to Covid-19? Here are a few tips for setting up your event roadmap and working with speakers.

Know what you want to know

This is an old journalistic rule: Know what you want to know. My greatest added value as a presenter (in addition to moderating) is to clearly understand the client’s objectives. Who is the target audience, what is the goal, what is the key message? What are the three key questions we need to answer? Who is best suited to answer them? By having a good conversation, you can really get to the heart of what the conference should be about.

Conduct an interview instead of a keynote

It was nice during online meetings, that almost every piece of content was an interview. Giving a good presentation is a skill that few possess. So why not have the moderator conduct an interview? This makes it much easier to control the content and the speaker does not have to prepare a presentation.  You can still run a few slides from the presentation in the background.

Give people LESS time

If people have less time, it forces them to get to the core of their message. They will really choose what they want to say. They will leave out long introductions and go straight to the heart of the matter. Can you invite people to speak for ‘just’ 15-20 minutes? Yes. Some talk shows or radio programs invite guests for just 6 minutes…

Be clear about the role of the speaker

What content do you need the guest for? Be very clear about this. Don’t say, “we need a piece on sustainability,” but rather “two examples that show sustainability leads to better pricing with customers.” This way the speaker knows what is expected and can really get to the core of their message. This is wonderful clarity!


You want a diverse group of guests on your stage. And you can no longer get away with the excuse that “there were no women to be found.” Look harder. Look earlier. Invite more people at the same time. Let it be known that you are not looking for a presentation, but that an interview is also possible. Make it known that we do not only invite people as super-experts, but rather for their specific experience in their field. (See also: hire an editor)

Hire an editor

Just like presenters, editors are also available for hire. Hire people who are used to making TV or radio programs. Who have a large network, but also consider it their job to find a good speaker on a subject. And they are used to making a clear plan. A good editor ensures that the program is not just a series of presentations, but that there is a clear core message. A good editor also ensures that you get the right speakers for the right topics.

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Rens de Jong