A successful presentation starts with the presenter owning the room. When you know and own the room, you will be a more powerful and confident presenter. That leads to more successful presentations for you.
While strolling in your neighborhood you will feel more comfortable and confident than in a strange town. A sports team usually feels stronger when playing at home. Delivering a presentation is certainly a competitive sport. Why not do it on your home turf?
As a presenter, how do you own the room? “Owning the room” is a feeling that you can generate within yourself by knowing the room. How do you know the room?
Know the room
Knowing the room for your presentation might mean arriving the day before your presentation. At the very least, arrive one hour before your presentation. Don’t breeze in 10 minutes before you speak and expect to “own the room”.
Get into the room before your presentation – preferably when no one else is there. This will allow you to make the following preparations.
You can see the room and start visualizing how you will present and how your audience will look. Visualizing yourself presenting in the room is an effective way to prepare for your presentation. You will feel more comfortable and more powerful if you’ve been in the room before your presentation.
If the room is not the right size for the audience expected you can plan what to do to alter the room to make it appear to be smaller or arrange for another room.
You can check the setup of the room. Become familiar with the layout of the seating, tables, doors, curtains and other characteristics of the room. Walk around the room and sit in different seats so you understand better how the audience might or might not see you and your visuals during your presentation. Look for blind spots.
Arrange for the seating to be changed to your preferred arrangement. Sometimes this might mean making those changes yourself. (I’ve done this the night before an important presentation.)
Play with the switches. Test all the lights, AV and climate control switches. Tape the ones that should not be changed. Discover the ones that give you the settings you want so you can set it quickly or explain to an assistant how to do it Escape the room Wien.
Check all the doors to learn which ones are noisy – so you can tape the latches with duct tape. Which are the outer halls that need a “Do Not Enter” sign taped on the outside? Where are the washrooms so you can direct people? hich are the emergency exits in case they are needed?
Rehearse walking on and off the stage so you don’t trip. I’ve done it and seen it happen. It’s surprising how simple things like walking on stage can be nerve wracking when you are giving a presentation.
Stand on the stage and deliver parts of your presentation. Move about the stage to feel comfortable and find the cracks or creaky boards that you will need to avoid. Check the position of the speakers while speaking on the microphone to avoid feedback. Test the microphone when the AV people are there. Often they test the microphone with one of their staff then they disappear.
One More Presentation Tip
Change or move something to make the room yours. Close the curtains, move some chairs, put a small table on stage… It might not be much but any small change that you make can help you feel better when you take the stage.
I’ve delivered over 1,000 presentations and I’ve noticed that a good room setup can influence the energy of the audience and success of your presentation.