SpeakerOps Training

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This page gives more detail in terms of what to expect when doing SpeakerOps and some suggestions from experienced SpeakerOps people for approaching the role. There is a corresponding guide for speakers at EMFSpeakerGuide.

A typical shift covers 3-4 talks and cycles as follows. Remember you will be up on stage and being recorded.

At start of shift (or ideally a little before) report to the Green Room (which is typically a white tent despite the name), and make contact with the SpeakerOps team leader to report for duty.

Meeting speakers prior to talks

Ideally this happens in the Green Room prior to the talks, but may happen in the tent at talk time.

Introduce yourself to the speaker and ask the following things:

  • How long does your talk run? (double check with the session list)
  • Are you happy to receive questions after the talk?
  • Do you have all the cables you need for laptops, etc.?
  • Do you need any help setting up?
  • Do you have any objections to your talk being recorded or streamed? (it is perfectly fine if they do not want it recorded or streamed; see below for details on what to do with this information)

In the tent, at the beginning of your shift

Check with the person running the shift prior to you if there is anything you need to know about AV/staging/etc.

Introduce yourself to the stage team. They are your friends. They will give you a microphone and show you how to use it.

Acquaint yourself with the layout of the stage, noting trip hazards, etc. that might be worthwhile pointing out to the speakers.

Identify the mechanism by which you can call for help from the SpeakerOps team lead if necessary (this may be a radio or telephone).

For each speaker

If you haven't shown the speaker to the tent, locate the speaker. Help them set up any equipment they need.

The stage team may want to do a sound and visual check. Let them know if the talk is not to be recorded.

Ask the speaker if they would like a warning when they are running out of time. Five minutes before question time is usually a good amount of time to warn. Let them know where you will be sitting and how you will warn them (fingers held up and waved, or a piece of paper with FIVE MINUTES written on it generally work).

Please try your best to start and end the talks on time.


Announcements will be updated at Herald Messages Please read these out at the beginning of each talk!

Introductions should at minimum include a welcome statement, the name of the speaker, and the title of the talk. Feel free to embellish a little and provide context, a bad pun, or other appropriate short statement. Some suggestions:

  • "Welcome to EMFCamp day 3! It's 11am and you're at Stage A. Our next speaker is Professor Jane Jones, and she will be giving a very timely talk on How to Give Talks at EMFCamp! Please join me in welcoming Professor Jones."
  • "Hello all, it's great to have you all back here at Stage A for our next speaker, Professor Jane Jones. Before we begin, I have a very important announcement from the organisers - please don't set fire to things! We appreciate your co-operation. I've also been informed that Professor Jones would very much appreciate it if you did not record this talk. So please put away your mobile phones and cameras, and enjoy this talk on How to Give Talks at EMFCamp!"

During the talk

Please pay attention. If something happens, you may need to assist - if the mic stops working, speaker needs assistance with a prop, or they need more water, for example.

Take note of a question or two that may help to break the ice at question time.

When the time comes to alert the speaker to the time warning, warn them in the pre-arranged way. If they keep going into question time, take that into consideration - keep alerting them every couple of minutes until they wrap it up. If they finish their talk without any time left for questions, explain that to the audience post-applause.

At the end of the talk

After the applause subsides (you may need to assist with starting applause if it doesn't begin naturally), you should thank the speaker and then ask for questions (if appropriate). Some suggestions:

  • Thank you, Professor Jones, for that fascinating talk. We have time for a couple of questions - does anyone have any questions for Professor Jones?
  • Thank you, Professor Jones, for that amazing talk. I feel like I learned a lot about Giving Talks at EMFCamp. Sadly, we don't have any time for questions, so if you have questions for Professor Jones, can I please suggest you move to the bar, which is in that direction?

If nobody asks a question, you can use your chair's privilege to ask a question and break the ice.

During questions, where you have raised hands, we generally try to go to people in order of hands raised for fairness.

It is important to pass (or hold in front of) the microphone to the person asking the question so that the question can be recorded (where permitted) and also heard by the speaker and everyone else in the room.

At the close of questions, thank the speaker for their talk and there may be a final round of applause. Some suggestions:

  • Thanks once again to Professor Jones for this talk. Our next talk will start in approximately 10 minutes - John Doe on Beekeeping and Acrostics.
  • Thanks again, Professor Jones for your talk. If I can ask our enthusiastic question askers to move to the bar so we can prepare for the next talk - John Doe on Beekeeping and Acrostics!

After the talk

Help the speaker to disconnect their laptop etc, make sure that any equipment borrowed is returned (VGA adapters, Microphones etc.), and any props are taken off stage.

Thank the speaker again!

Hopefully you have time to go back to the Green Room to find your next speaker, or they may have found you in your tent.

Rinse and repeat!