How to Speak Live in a Pandemic

I spoke at my first LIVE event since the pandemic began and it was amazing!

The extrovert in me was thrilled to be around human beings again and it was glorious to be back on stage.

There was a coordinated effort by everyone involved (event planners, conference center staff, attendees, etc.) to host a safe and successful in-person event!

Here is how it worked so you too can have the confidence (and plan) to get back to live/in-person events A.S.A.P.

Promotional graphic used leading up to event day.

1. The attendees had the ability to attend in-person or virtually.

The event was originally scheduled in late March, but we all know what happened…

We tentatively re-scheduled for June and had to move it again to August 21, 2020.

This was the 29th year for the NLF so they had good data on expected attendance.

Pre-covid, the estimated attendance was going to be around 175 people.

On our event day, we had roughly 120 people (70%) attend in-person. The remaining 30% attended virtually.

Event host reading my introduction before I take the stage. August 21, 2020

2. Tables of four instead of tables of eight.

The circular tables that decorate conference rooms (you know what I’m talking about) traditionally seat eight people.

On our event day, they cut it in half. Four people at a table instead of eight.

The seating was 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock.

The elbow room was great and it made life easier for the conference center staff to bus each table.

Four people to a table, instead of eight. August 21, 2020

3. Masks were required, until…

Everyone had to wear a mask until they took their seat at their table.

If you had to get up to go to the restroom, take a call outside, etc. you had to put your mask back on.

Some people chose to put their masks back on after eating. From the stage, I would say 25% of the room chose to keep their masks on.

If you were speaking on stage (and by yourself), you could take your mask off on stage to speak.

Autographing books at table next to exit. August 21, 2020

4. Back of the room sales, just like old times.

If the speaker does an excellent job presenting, there should be audience members that want to purchase the speaker’s book.

By following the social distancing guidelines (six feet apart) and masks on for everyone (speaker included), you can successfully sell books.

A line formed with six feet of distance between each person and everyone waited patiently with a great attitude for an autographed book.

In-person events are coming back, slowly but surely.

They may look different at first, but there is power in face-to-face meetings.

It would be an honor to be your keynote speaker at your next event (live or virtual).

Here is a link to review my speaker assets: Demo Reels, Media Kit, Testimonials, etc.

See you on stage,
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Johnny Quinn, Speaker / U.S. Olympian (Bobsled)

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Johnny Quinn is a U.S. Olympian (Bobsled) and Speaker. He delivers thought-provoking and action-packed speeches to help increase performance and teamwork in business and in life. Companies that have hired Johnny to speak include: Toyota, Chick-fil-A, Cisco, Southwest Airlines, Wells Fargo, Zillow, LiftMaster, Fiserv and Lockheed Martin.

Hire Johnny to speak at your next event →

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