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presentation training Venue and equipment p9

Venue
Always arrive early. Give yourself time to familiarize yourself with surroundings and equipment.

Lighting
Is it enough for delegates to write/watch by? Can it be controlled? If using slides or some computerised projection you’ll need to block daylight and dim lights.

If you work with slides, can you see your notes?

Does a lecturn light illuminate only your chin or nose?

If you have a spotlight on you, you are unlikely to be able to see your audience well. You have to fake the eye contact!

Don’t work with a strong light source behind you.

Heating and Ventilation
Can it be controlled? Avoid coldness at the start of day and over-warm after lunch. If possible, at breaks allow fresh air in (positive ions).

Beware: many people are very sensitive to draughts.

Power Source
Where are the plugs? Can your electrical leads reach? Always have an extension cable and multiple power point ready (or know where to get one).

Note: European power sockets are often a different design and voltage.

If possible, tape down power flex to avoid accidents from tripping.

Equipment
Always set up and test equipment before the presentation. At the very least, ask someone else to do so. If using microphones carry out a personal volume test. Never lean into a static microphone. If the volume level has been pre-tested it should pick up your voice well. Consider a battery powered throat microphone for interactive, large scale presentation work.

Venue and Equipment

Layout
Think about your presentation objectives. Do you want to remind delegates of a classroom? If not , break the seating lines:

If you wish to encourage discussion, consider a studio style, even for 200 people.

For smaller presentations try the ‘U’ shape. This gives you space to move closer if needed but retains your authority.

For shared discussions where you wish to take on a facilitating role, consider a circle and, if possible, do away with desks. You sit down with others.

Beware of the oblong boardroom table. Most people have to turn their necks to see (tiring for long periods). Also it is difficult to control cross table banter/discussions.

If possible have say in how you want seating arranged.


Venue and Equipment
Acoustics
If possible try out the acoustics, particularly if you are addressing a large audience (75+). Beware, soft furnishings, carpets, curtains, false baffle ceilings and people can all deaden the sound.

Footnote
If you are asked to talk in an unknown venue, ask questions about the conditions using this checklist.

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