SAP Experience Centre, London

This is a great wide angle photo of a presenting job I did recently with SAP, the global software company. We were anchoring a virtual competition using their technology S/4HANA, with 20 teams based around Europe, for two and a half hours.

Lesson 1: don’t wear such high heels. Or, on the other hand, DO wear them, to even up the height difference between you and your fellow presenters. As you can see, even with the heels, I am about a foot shorter than the lovely Ray, next to me, and Mo wasn’t far behind. Don’t even ask why they’re wearing football shirts (OK, SAP has a staff football team and it was to fit in with the theme of competition!)

Lesson 2: Prepare, prepare, prepare. You need LOTS of background information, extra questions, extra topics that you might have to get into, if things get sticky. By which I mean, the external links don’t work (they did) or your co-presenters BOTH leave the room at the same time, leaving you on your own (they did). In which case I resported to the old news presenters’ trick of ‘filling’ but sounding like (I hope) this was all planned and what I am telling you is THE MOST INTERESTING thing you’ve ever heard.

Lesson 3: Don’t look like something has gone wrong, even if it has. Treat it with humour and grace, keep talking (never a problem with me) and one of you will come up with something to move on to.

Lesson 4: Look ready, even if you’re not. I have said this before – get your makeup on, earrings, fabulous outfit, have your script printed ON PAPER (more of this later) and get going. Even if things haven’t been finalised, some of the guests aren’t there yet etc… I am a great believer in: if the event starts at 2pm, it starts at 2pm. Especially online, people lose interest after a few minutes and go on to the next task/email/phone call/meeting. At the very least, put messages in the Chat, to say you’ll be there very soon.

Lesson 5: Paper works, it doesn’t crash. All the broadcast networks still use paper scripts, and believe me: when the technology is playing silly buggers, you want something you can turn to. I know we’re all trying to save the planet/go paperless, but you can recycle the scripts. I do.

Lesson 6: Back to the ‘Little and Large’ analogy: the height difference. I was originally standing in the middle, between the two guys. It looked silly! We decided to put me on the end, so it looked like a pyramid, and so I was nearest to the screen with all the virtual teams dialling in, via zoom (I think). So it worked in the end. Plus I am so loud and sparkling (!) I held my own.

So that’s just a few thoughts for live studio events, now that we are able to do these again, in person. A lot of these tips also work for virtual events (yes I still work from paper even in my own home). So fingers crossed and go get em.

Sarah Lockett

Sarah Lockett is a former BBC News / Sky News anchor who currently presents a variety of content for corporate clients and delivers media training.
She has presented on BBC News and Sky News, plus reported for Channel Four News, 5 News, Reuters and others.
She now hosts webinars and conferences, chairs corporate/academic panel discussions, hosts award ceremonies and events. She writes, presents and produces training videos, as well as voiceovers (both factual and drama/comedy). She has written two books and is also working as an actor.

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