How Much Should I budget for a Conference Presentation?

Q: I need a 20 – 25 minute conference presentation. The primary audience will be key policy makers, journalists, scientists, foreign governments. I envisage an Al Gore style of presentation; thought-provoking; absorbing; motivational; inspirational; a call to action. The presentation might be re-edited for different audiences and formats (web/dvd) in the longer term.

The presentation will include

> 2-3 video clips (archive- to be bought in)
> 25 charts, graphs, maps, some animated (to be designed)
> 25 images (to be bought in)
> Intro music

> Script writer required. Final copyright usage – global.

> Options for a voice over (our presenter) to be added.

> Options for French, Spanish and Chinese voiceovers.

I’d probably need to tender this conference project but would be grateful for ball park figures.

Head of Communications
Government Department

A: To give a fast answer, I’d put a ball park figure of around £10k for this kind of conference presentation.

You could pay more, you could pay less.

But I’d justify this level of cost estimate in the following way. May I?

Background

Conference presentations are often very predictable. They’re slide after slide after slide, following one or two basic computer-generated formats.

Of course, the information content may be very high quality – and often is.

And with a charismatic speaker, the audience will be thoroughly absorbed.

But generally, most presentations are like curate’s eggs – good in parts!

And therefore only effective in part.

So the need to find an alternative to repetitive computer generated graphics is essential if you’re to be certain of winning your conference audience

What Works?

Having every slide as a handcrafted original is what keeps audiences glued.

A flow of original slides is visually stimulating. Audiences are interested to see what comes next.

Some animation is needed too.

This all obviously costs more, as it takes a lot more time to put together.

This approach not only engages audiences, it looks a whole lot more impressive, which is important of you want to influence and persuade key policy makers, as well as win good press coverage.

Here’s a chart showing how multimedia presentations differ to traditional conference presentation styles www.rossiterandco.com/conferencepresentations.htm

Added-Value

Most conference customers are content-specialists. They really know what they want to say.

What they’re looking for is an information-delivery specialist, someone who can bring something extra to the table – who can bring their ideas to life, along with expert advice as to what works best, and what doesn’t.

This added-value increases the cost, as anyone with this kind of know-how isn’t going to come for a knock-down price.

Further: The added-value that expert advice brings will ensure that your conference message is persuasively delivered as a series of well-made strong points, and not just a series of pretty graphics that cynical journalists will disparage.

Foreignspeak

Getting a presentation translated and voiced in non-European alphabets requires a solid time-proven production method.

Otherwise, things can happen like:

In Mandarin: ” … it will be beneficial to pollute the river with oil … “

I literally had this happen once, but our production method picked it up in time. The customer, an international manufacturer with a workforce of 40,000 staff worldwide, wouldn’t have been to pleased if the error had slipped through!

There’s no substitute for solid experience when translating to foreign languages, especially non-European alphabets

Technical Skills

The multimedia mix in your conference requires technical proficiency with video editing, graphics, animation, streaming, DVD authoring, scriptwriting, translation and audio/music production.

It isn’t as easy as falling off a log.

It’d be a gamble to select someone who couldn’t clearly demonstrate technical proficiency in every area of your multimedia mix.

Conferences presentations are risky enough without taking additional risks.

Conclusion

For £10,000 ball park you should be able to ask for a presentation that visually compels, complete with the added-value and experience that will ensure every section of the presentation works, and not just the “high spots”.

For your web and DVD outputs and other variations such as Mandarin or other foreign languages you’ll need to budget additionally, both for creativity and studio work, as well as duplication and streaming costs.

The final result will be the complete conference presentation you imagine it will be.
© Studio Rossiter 2007

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