Behind the Scenes – A few pointers for a successful speaking experience

In 2019, the GSMA Content Team managed over 2000 speakers, close to 500 hours of content across 3 MWC editions, 7 Mobile 360 Series and 3 4YFN events. As we gear up for 2020, we would like to take some time to offer our insights into making your speaking experience as smooth and successful as possible.


For all our events, we send out a detailed speaker guideline document in the weeks/months pre-event. This document includes all the logistical information you will need for your speakership, including important specifications for presentations. It is essential you refer to these guidelines and provide your presentation materials by the set deadline. This deadline ensures our production teams have time to load and test all content prior to the event, and gives enough time for us to flag any issues with you in time for you to make edits before your session. Some of the common issues we encounter are;

  • Fonts not provided. If you think your presentation has used a custom font, please share along with your presentation, we will need to load this on to the show laptops
  • Incorrect format. For our MWC events we can only accept PPT and Keynote files, please do not share a PDF or Google Doc, it cannot be used
  • Incorrect slide size. Please refer to the speaker guidelines for the correct slide size
  • Youtube Video Links. We need the original video file, having a URL to play onsite presents the risk the file will buffer or not play on the day.
  • Also, consider the font size and complexity of you slides. The bigger the stage, screen and auditorium, the less content you should have on each slide.

Familiarisation and Rehearsal

We encourage you to arrange a rehearsal or stage familiarisation visit. Stage familiarisation visits typically only take 15 minutes and are a great chance to see the stage layout, meet the production team and ask any questions you may have. Familiarisation calm the nerves on the day, when there is a lot to take in and you need to remain focused on your presentation objectives and delivery.

Rehearsal slots typically last for around 30-60 minutes. It’s a chance to practice any video cues with the production team, check your slides are displaying correctly on the auditorium screens, and have a run through of any demos you included in your presentation and get your bearings on stage.


Timing is key at events, be that arriving on time for you 30minute pre-session meeting, or during your session. We ask all of our speakers, regardless of their stage time, to arrive at the speaker suite 30 minutes before the start of their session. This is to ensure there is opportunity to brief and mic them ahead of time ensuring the session starts on time.

During the session it is essential you keep an eye on the countdown clock to keep your presentation to the agreed length. Going over your time has a domino effect on the rest of the day’s sessions.

What to wear on stage

Key points to remember when planning your outfit:

  • Thin stripes or very busy patterns can disrupt lighting/filming
  • There is no strict dress code – we encourage smart casual, show your personality and make yourself memorable
  • If you are going to be joining us for a seated panel session then please be aware of the length of your skirt or trousers, as well as your choice of socks – our stages are elevated (!)
  • Do not wear dangling earrings – it can tangle with your mic and cause interference
  • Avoid wearing anything which you can fiddle with, such as scarves
  • We can accommodate all outfits for mic-ing, however wearing something with a waist band or belt is useful to attach the mic pack to
  • We do aim to provide a female AV technician and/or modesty curtain for assistance with mic-ing up where possible

Stage Movements

A few things to be mindful of:

  • Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to walk back and forth on the stage to own it. In fact constantly moving across the stage records poorly on camera as you move out of the light. Find a central spot you are comfortable with and move appropriately with your slides or messaging
  • If you are prone to fidgeting then maybe put something meaningful in your hand e.g. make sure you hold the clicker, or hold one of your products you want to show case
  • If you want to hold and show a product then make sure you hold it up on level with your head so it’s in a nice frame for a photo
  • If there is a technical error or a glitch e.g your slides drop or stop working or a video doesn’t play on time – do not panic or stop, simply state what needs to happen e.g. ‘Let’s bring up the next slide’ and in the meantime continue talking/presenting whilst our AV team fix the issue

Social Media

Speakers and their companies can build a lot of buzz, and gain greater benefits from the audience beyond the auditorium, if you promote your involvement in the event through social media. With all of our events we send a “Speaker Next Steps” document including some promotional banners, the event hashtag, and some example posts for your social media. With the tags included the GSMA Social Media team can also pick up on these messages and spread them further.

As always, as you prepare for your sessions and have any questions on how to prepare for your speaker slot then do please get in touch with the team!