I just returned from speaking at Max Simon’s event. It was a wonderful experience.
As I was setting up to speak, I was reminded of one of the most important aspects of speaking – checking your space ahead of time.
I actually didn’t learn this practice until much later in my speaking career – and I wasted many opportunities with technology that didn’t work, tripping over cords and other mishaps that could have been prevented.
I remember one talk where on the way to the mike, I tripped over a chair leg and knocked over the projector. The whole machine toppled over with a loud crash. I was brand new to this room of people, and no one knew quite what to do. I picked myself up and lightened the room with a joke about how my speaking ability was better than my walking ability. But, it took them fifteen minutes to fix the projector, and I had only 20 minutes to talk. I made the best of the situation, but it wasn’t fun.
My embarrassing moments have become your teaching lessons.
It doesn’t matter what size room you are speaking in or how long or short the talk is. Always do the following space check to prevent speaking mishaps and calm your nerves:
- Check that the projector is working and you know how to turn it on and off – in case you need to turn it off in your presentation.
- If you are using an AV Team, be sure to know the name of the guy who is running things at the back of the room. That way you can address him if something goes wrong.
- Play with the remote so you know how to move things forward and backward. Also press all the buttons so you know what they are in case you go “button mad” when you get nervous.
- Clear the space of anything that you could trip on – extra cords, papers, chairs etc. Also, you might want to move some people who are sitting a little too close to the front of the room. Make sure there is a clear path to walk.
- Walk around in the space you are presenting in. Note how different areas of the stage or the room feel different. Where are you most comfortable? Do you need a chair or stool to lean on? If you are working with a projector, where are you in and out of the light?
- Make sure you have your handouts, goodies, and demonstrations handy to grab during your presentation.
- If you need a whiteboard – make sure you’ve got markers.
- Double check that you know exactly how long you’ll be speaking and that you’ve created your presentation so that you know what to skip if time seems tight.
- Make sure you have some kind of visible timer. I love setting up an IPAD with a countdown clock. I also use an application called Clock GT on my I-phone. I change the settings so that the phone stays on the countdown timer the whole time.
- I find it easier to know where I’m supposed to be by a certain section, then I can skip parts if I am running behind.
I hope these set-up tips make your next talk more comfortable and have you feeling in control.
© Copyright 2012 Monica Shah