All venues are different - assume nothing!

All venues are different – assume nothing!

Check with the organisers what facilities will be available to you. Don’t assume anything, or you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. Is there a podium, a microphone, can you make use of your own laptop, or do you have to take a memory stick and use their computer? Is there, indeed, a digital projector at all, or a decent screen? If you are using other formats, do they have a flip-chart stand, a back-projector, or even a whiteboard? Plan to arrive good and early, with plenty of time to deal with unexpected technical problems. The audience’s first sight of you should not be of your rear end, as you crawl under a table to connect a cable!

If you are using a microphone, what type is it? If you have a mic on a podium or stand, you may have to stay put and face the audience all the time you are speaking. Can you remove the mic from the stand and move around? If there is a radio mic available, you can move around, approaching the audience more closely and then striding back to the screen to pinpoint some important issue. If it’s a lapel mic you can even use both hands to express yourself. However, if you are spotlit, you just might have to stand still anyway – you don’t want to be wandering in and out of view. Find out all of this as early as practical, as there are knock-on effects to think about. For example, if you are making use of the full stage, are you going to be far from your laptop when it’s time for the next slide? Is there a remote control available?

Check out where you will be in relation to the audience. What will they see behind you? If you are in a room with windows, will you be silhouetted in front of a bright outside scene, or even worse – half-open venetian blinds? This is important, because I have only ever once given a presentation when I, the presenter, was actually lit by a spotlight. Usually, lighting is fairly subdued so that the screen is the focus – make sure that you can be seen too. Try and position yourself so that you have a plain backdrop, with no house-plants growing out of the top of your head.

For the full picture, so to speak, click HERE to check out my book “How to Create and Deliver a Great Presentation”.