Four Tips, and Four Pro Tips, to Best Prepare Executives for RSA 2016

Alexandra Evans

Here we are just one week out from RSA 2016. In this last week before the event, preparation and delivering concise briefings documents are key to helping executives succeed onsite. As us PR folks are busy coordinating last-minute meetings and putting the final touches on messaging, here are four tips, and four pro tips, to make sure your executives are fully prepped for the big week ahead.

Talking Points

Whether you have one announcement going out or three, executives need to be prepared with the approved talking points and messaging, as well as the list of things not to say. In addition, make sure executives have the final version of all releases with them onsite. For PR team members who will be attending the event, make sure to pack a USB port in case any changes are made last minute and new versions need to be printed ASAP.

Pro Tip: If talking points are extensive, drill them down into a concise bullet points.  These are much easier to remember, let alone read through, then pages and pages of messaging.

Double Check and Confirm All Meetings Before Hand

It’s happened to all of us – that panic you get when a reporter still hasn’t shown up to his or her scheduled 11 a.m. meeting. YIKES. To avoid some of the stress that comes with trying to hunt down a meeting attendee during the conference, check in with all confirmed meetings this week, reiterating meeting time and location. Be careful about inquiring if the time still works – with schedules so jammed packed during the show, it could give a reporter a way out.

Pro Tip: If you haven’t already, get cell phone numbers for all reporters who you have lined up meetings with onsite, and give them the phone number of whomever the onsite contact is. During the week of RSA, most attendees won’t be as accessible via email as they usually are, so having cell phone numbers handy is the best way to track someone down. 

Create the Master Briefing Book

Conference briefing books can be hefty ones, especially if executives are all talking about different topics. To reduce page numbers, keep reporter and publication backgrounds to what executives need to know for the meeting. Chances are, most executives are already familiar with the publications/reporters they are meeting with, so paragraphs of background on Dark Reading and SearchSecurity won’t be beneficial in helping them prepare. What is? Insights around how the reporter has covered your client, their competitors or this space in the past. What else? Any insights about about a pre-existing relationship. When possible, avoid adding in full article text unless it is super relevant. As most executives review the documents on their computer at first, a link will suffice.

Pro Tip: If you have multiple executives going and meeting with various reporters and analysts, make your master briefing document customizable. For example, in the master document in addition to including a master schedule, include separate schedules for each executive. This will make creating any last-minute books much less of a lift.

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Image from: unsplash.comused under CC license.

Do a Walkthrough

Before everyone rushes off to RSA, get some time on calendars to walk through the briefing book and talking points in detail. This will give executives an opportunity to ask questions, PR folks the chance to share any relevant reporter details they learned through outreach and a chance for everyone to get on the same page as the flow onsite. Try to find a time that works for everyone, but if schedules are hectic, consider doing two separate calls. You want to make sure everyone is prepared.

Pro Tip: Don’t wait too long to get this call on the calendar. Scheduling a call like this on Friday can be risky for both parties. Leaving it too late can make executives feel rushed and unprepared, while PR folks can be left scrambling to make last-minute changes and updates. You know what they say: The early bird gets the worm.

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