If you’re a frequent speaker or presenter, you know how much your environment matters.
You’ve probably had at least one experience in which you were trapped in a stuffy, windowless room, listening to a speaker drone on and on.
All you could think about was, “What is that funky smell?” and “When are we going to be freed from this cage of boredom?"
Maybe you’re not quite that dramatic, but you get the point.
Guess what? As the presenter, you have the right to take complete responsibility for the environment.
Because an uncomfortable audience will probably miss your message!
As a general rule, you should always arrive at the venue early and check things out. Here are some questions you can consider to make sure you’re able to create the optimum setting – for yourself and for the people to whom you’re speaking.
You don’t want your audience to be too cramped.
If you aren’t comfortable with the people-to-space ratio in the room that you’ve been booked to speak in, ask if you can be switched to one that’s more accommodating.
When you arrive, see if the room feels too hot or too cold and find out if the temperature can be easily adjusted if need be.
An audience member who is freezing or one who is sweating won’t be able to give their full attention to you.
Keep in mind that a room can heat up quickly when it starts to fill with people!
The seat configuration is important! You want to be able to see each face and they want to see you!
It’s much easier for someone’s mind to wander if all they can see is the back of another person’s head.
Once the seats are arranged in a way that suits you, decide where you’ll stand.
Of course, you won’t be standing in one spot the whole time, but get a feel for the best area to be your “home base” as you’re speaking.
It’s a good idea to walk around on the stage or front of the room before the audience arrives to scope it out!
Nobody wants to take a chance on delivering their presentation and tripping over a cord during the most pivotal point.
Or any point, really!
Ask if the cords will be taped down so that they don’t cause you any embarrassing moments.
This is especially important if your presentation requires you to turn the lights down for some reason.
You’d be surprised how many speakers forget to find the light switch until they’re in front of a room full of people and need it.
Don’t compete with outside noises for the attention of your audience.
If you get to your venue and notice that you’re close to a source of loud external noises, ask what can be done.
You may have the option of using a different room or the noise may be able to be quieted while you’re presenting.
It’s always nice to know that you have someone at a venue who can set up chairs, move things around for you or just generally be at your beck and call.
It’s important to find out if you need to ask for this kind of assistance before your event, however!
Your goal is to give a presentation that resonates with your audience and adds value to their lives.
You can ensure this happens by arriving at your venue early enough to check things out and run through this list of questions.
Your audience will thank you by giving you their full attention, free from distractions.
If you don’t already, plan to arrive early enough at your next event to make sure the environment is just how you want it to be for your listeners.