12 Lessons Corporate Meeting Planners Can Learn From Broadway – Setting Up Your Keynote Speaker for Success

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Victoria_Labalme_Beacon_Theater_3_Keynote_Speaker.jpegOn the night of the 66th Annual Tony Awards celebrating great theater here in New York City, I wanted to take this opportunity to share a few lessons that corporate event planners can learn from some of the best theater minds on our planet. So let’s take these lessons from the flip side.Below are 12 of the most common corporate event planning errors which damage the experience for both the audience and the speaker.

1. A Long Lagging Opening Speech by Someone from the Organization

Imagine if the Tony Awards tonight began with a long speech by someone from the American Theater Wing instead of the festive film take off from The Book of Mormon and the actual cast singing on stage? The American Theater Wing rep always makes his or her appearance much farther into the evening, once the show has gained momentum and once our attention is hooked.

2. A Wide Center Aisle

Imagine if the Beacon Theater or any brilliant theater space wiped out the center orchestra seats and replaced it with a gigantic center aisle? In any theater, the premium seats are always center orchestra. People pay big bucks for these. And yet, time and again, event planners create a wide center aisle right in front of the stage. Huh?

3.  A Wide “Moat” or Gap Separating the Stage and Audience

In theater, the premium seats are not only those in the center but also those closer to the stage. Often, though, meeting planners set up a huge “moat” that separates the speaker from the audience, and that moat serves to do just this: SEPARATE the speaker from the audience and vice versa. This physical distance creates an emotional and psychological distance…not ideal for connection, transformation, and learning.

4.  Lack of Proper Lighting
Imagine if there were no lights here at the Beacon Theater and the producers just relied on the house lights. As a corpo