You have been invited to give a presentation. You prepare your content, build your slides, and practice your delivery. Excellent. But have you given any consideration to the logistics involved to ensure that your presentation will go smoothly? I refer to those common obstacles that can impair your performance, such as: no microphone when you expected there to be one; poor staging so that you find yourself straining to see the screen; no one to help set up a projector that is totally foreign to you; the extension or VGA chords are missing; you expected tables to facilitate interactive exercises but the room is set up classroom style.
Whether presenting in a boardroom or ballroom you need to control your presentation environment to establish the best audience engagement and speaker ease. Many presenters presume that this is the sole responsibility of those organizers. This is not the case. The reality is, you are the one alone in front of the audience, so better look after yourself. You have more control than you think.
There are several actions you can take prior to the meeting and one site at the venue. You want to minimize the unknowns. The more you plan in advance the greater confidence you will have when you present on site and less chance of being derailed by unforeseen circumstances. Logistical management is just as important as practicing your presentation. You likely have enough anxiety about presenting so why escalate the situation by having to deal with unsettling and unexpected obstacles?
Sometimes there is a technicians and on site to help you and they act as the Stage Manager. Introduce yourself and ask for any special directions that will help you interact with the A/V devices most effectively. Prior to presenting, a professional speaker will walk the stage, do a sound check, practice with the remote, and review the slides. If there is no Technician or Planner support then you need to be your own Stage Manager. Follow the seven important steps on the checklist to ensure that you are ready to confidently present.
CHECKLIST FOR LOGISTICS
- Copy your slideshow and speaker notes on a flash drive or in a virtual cloud like Dropbox or iCloud
- Print a hard copy.
- Inspect your laptop case includes your charger. If you have a MAC make bring your own a VGA adapter as on site technicians may not provide these.
- Bring your own remote. Keep extra batteries in your laptop case.
- Provide your own travel clock – you can buy one for under $10
- Make sure you receive clear directions to the venue.
- Give yourself plenty of travel time. Allow for traffic and find out where park in advance. Arriving in a panic is not a good way to start or fair to the organizer.
© Lorraine Behnan, ExpressionLab Communications Inc.