Imagine that your presentation starts in an hour. You arrive at the venue or meeting room and to your complete horror the projector won’t work with your laptop, they don’t have the MAC adaptor and the slides you spent hours preparing are useless. This is a disaster!
Or what about this….you turn up at the venue and find that the chairs are facing the wrong way, or they are situated with pillars obstructing people’s views, or the lighting is all wrong (the audience may be sitting in the dark and you can’t see their eyes). Oh no – this simply will not do!
When these things happen and you are unprepared for it, and therefore you have not allocated enough time to fix it before your audience arrives it’s very unnerving. In fact, it’s a recipe for presentation nerves.
Please don’t just turn up and hope for the best!
What should you do instead?
You can avoid incorrect room set up by taking time to familiarise yourself with the venue and available equipment before the day of your presentation. Ideally, you should send a diagram to your venue organiser well in advance, so they can see exactly how you prefer the stage, chairs and visuals to be set. We send out a diagram at the time of booking me. And we also call the client the day or two before to make sure that everything will be organised. Sometimes we find out during the call that something isn’t available. This is perfect, at least I can organise to bring it myself.
Further, you must get there early on the day to make sure you have time to get up on the stage and get the feel of it all. You’ll need to do this when the audience is out having a coffee break so plan properly. You should also give the sound team plenty of time to test your microphone while the audience is out of ear shot. This way, you will feel like you ‘own’ that stage, and you’ll nail it!
Remember you are the presenter and you should be in control of yourself, your message and your environment if you are to manage your nerves and achieve the outcomes for your audience that you desire. Proper preparation prevents poor performance!
Michelle Bowden is an authority on presentation & persuasion in business. Michelle is a CSP (the highest designation for speakers in the world), co-creator of the PRSI (a world-first psychometric indicator that tests your persuasiveness at work), best-selling internationally published author (Wiley), and a regular commentator in print, radio and online media. Www.michellebowden.com.au