It's all about practice. The best speakers in the world - however smooth and experienced they are - will not deliver a great presentation if it has not been practiced. Delivery will not be smooth, the presenter will be scrambling to hit key points and slide transitions will not be seamless, leading to a badly presented session.
Dry-runs also force speakers to ensure all their content is complete. Everyone is busy with their commitments to work and personal life. More often than not, speakers will leave their session prep to the last minute (since there is so much time between now and May!) only to find out that they don't have everything in place, don't have time to practice and demos are not baked long enough.
Dry-runs also provide a feedback mechanism to the speaker on quality, appropriateness and impact of content and demos. Attendees at dry-runs will be able to provide honest and sometimes direct feedback to the speakers on whether things are going ok, or give speakers tips on how to deliver a point.
What do speakers do during Dry-runs?
Present the entire session in its entirety. Speakers must run through their session AS THEY INTEND it to be during the actual event. Think of it as a Full Dress Rehearsal. Presentation - points, jokes and demos must be delivered no matter how silly or repetitive it might seem.
Your primary objective is to impress the attendees of dry-runs and get their PASS or OK. You must score at least 7.5 and above on dry-run feedback. All your sessions MUST be complete for you to pass the dry-runs.
What do Track Owners and Dry-run Attendees have to do?
Your objective is stop speakers from presenting poor sessions at MEDC by looking for errors, problems and quality of presentation. All presentations should be complete including demos. You are to score each dry-run session using the DRY-RUN FEEDBACK FORM. You should reject sessions and demos that aren’t complete and have the Speaker come back again for another Dry-run session within the Dry-run period.
While you are the judge of session quality, you are also to provide honest feedback, encouragement, and tips on how to improve on session quality.
*excerpt from the Tome of Content Managment 2006 Mobile Edition for MS Reader.