You get to the venue, get out of your car, walk straight to the podium,
and begin your talk. I’m hoping this is not the typical way things happen
before a speaking event. The important point to consider is what
you, the speaker, are doing ahead of time to maximize a positive experience
by controlling the speaking environment. Are you giving yourself
ample time to gain a comfort level with the room so you feel in
control? Your confidence level will increase when you know that the
stage, the room, and the layout are to your satisfaction.
What about some of the other details that may need to be considered?
Do you know where the temperature gauges are and are you
able to control them? Will you have control of the lights and the seating?
When you have the chance to control the environment, you need
to do so. As previously mentioned about audio-visual aspects of your
presentation, you should check out the equipment, and you should
also understand the acoustics. Is there an echo, and will everyone be
able to hear you? When you walk around, do you find any parts of
the stage that creak and might distract the audience? What about the
lighting? Are bright lights blinding you? Is there a dimmer so that if
the lights have to go lower, the room is not too dark?
Have you walked around the room and absorbed the potential
views from all areas? I remember a speech competition in which there
was an odd, circular row of chairs around one side of the stage. This
forced the outlying audience members to strain to see around poles
if they wanted to see me when I was on certain parts of the stage, and
also impacted where I placed my props. Fortunately, this preparation
allowed me to know exactly where I would set up to ensure I maximized
the audience experience visually.
When you look out into the audience, what do you see? Are there
rows of seats, or are there tables? Is the seating conducive to your
needs? If you encourage note-taking, will tables be more useful? When
you interact with the audience, do you have them jumping out of their
seats? If so, how does this play into the current set-up? Will tables
cause more face-to-face side conversations that may take away from
your presentation? Each speaker has his or her own preference, but
you should set expectations ahead of time and get there early to make
sure the set-up is what you want. As important as it is to arrange ahead
of time with the organizer before the event, I have learned that things
will happen that leave you scrambling if you haven’t gotten there ahead
of time. When you control what you can with the environment, the
experience will be better for everyone.
Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):
- Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
- Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
- Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
- The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
- From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
- The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood
See “Products” for details on www.transformationtom.com. Book, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only) purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed: Amazon.com