Have you felt annoyed at events when speakers go on and on? How do you stop them? If your program is not strong but has a great emcee, s/he would know how to make it work.
A good emcee, master of ceremonies or moderator as they are called, would know how to make the program flow on time. I only know how to do these things by observing some of the pros in the Asian community like Lori Matsukawa, KING TV anchor Mary Nam, KOMO TV anchor, and Al Sugiyama, executive director of Center for Career Alternatives.
Control the mic. The emcee holds onto the mic as much as possible even if the other speakers try to grab it away from them.
State clearly at the beginning of the program how long each speaker should speak. Make a joke at the beginning about what you will do if the speaker goes too long.
Use a timer and have a person hold signs to warn the speaker at the 1-minute or 30-second mark before time is over so s/he can come to a conclusion. Make sure the speaker sees the sign. Because of Powerpoint presentations, speakers may focus on the screen and not the timer.
The emcee should walk to the stage and stand behind the speaker when the time is up as to create a signal or make the speaker feel uncomfortable enough to wrap up their speech.
If the speaker still refuses to leave, you have to seize the moment and speak into the mic and tell the audience to catch the speaker after the program. Don’t forget to thank the speaker.
For speakers who have a reputation to go way longer than their time, just don’t invite them back.
I used the above points at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Symposium at the Burke Museum over the weekend and it worked beautifully. ♦