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DESCRIPTIONHow to speak and get your message accross in front of people - a basic guide that the pro's will find useful too...
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getting your message across in front
Results Rules OK...
David Holland MBA
The Results Guy
E Book #8
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2. Room Logistics
3. Materials and Props
4. The process of Presenting
5. About Results Rules OK the marketing bit...
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There is well worn introduction that professional and amateur speakers use that suggests
that based upon research about peoples fears and phobias, speaking in public is scarier
than death, spiders or heights
Whether the fear factor is quite as great as that depends on the audience, the venue and of
course the speaker. The first time I had to speak in public was in the school debating team
when as part of a small team we had to debate a subject with authority and eloquence.
I can remember feeling physically sick as we walked onto the stage and took our seats. I
was unable to hold eye contact, my mouth went dry, I was sweating I came out with some
wide ranging Bull@*#+ about our given topic. Time stood still, it was the longest 30 minutes
of my life even worse we won our round and had to go through the ordeal again in the
Since that somewhat inauspicious start, I have spent in excess of 1500 hours physically on
stage presenting, training and inspiring people in 21 countries plus 15 states on the USA. I
still get nervous; I have learned how to overcome the fear and present what I hope are
engaging, moving and informative presentations the propensity to Bull@*#+ however, has
remained according to some
I have also learned that being a god presenter is a great way of becoming the expert, it
enables me to attract clients, position my knowledge and expertise in public and helps
build both my brand and reputation. In short, in business, if you can present well to people
you will elevate your sales, your career and your income in direct proportion to you skill on
I learned my early stage craft from my time as a professional rock drummer. Strange as it
may sound, but the stage disciplines that make for a successful rock band are very similar
to those used by top speakers and entertainers the same rules apply.
So this paper will give you a guide through the best practice that I have learned on stages
throughout the world, presenting to some of the toughest audiences that are out there
business owners and entrepreneurs just like you
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2. Room Logistics.
Where ever possible make sure that you have control of the room you own it before and
whilst you are on stage. This can be a challenge if you are presenting at someone elses
function or event, but where you can, always check on the following.
Seating this will depend on the size of audience and the type of presentation you are
doing. For workshops and training events the audience must have tables to write on and
space for pens paper etc. Depending on the size of the audience and the venue, the tables
can be round and laid out Cabaret, style with people only sat around one side of the table
so that they can all get a good view of you and your materials.
This layout allows you to be able to connect with everyone from the stage, they can take
plenty of notes, and each table can develop its own personality and this can be used by
the skilful presenter to add to the experience.
Another favourite and more efficient use of space is to use the Herringbone layout. This
uses rectangular tables with 6 or 8 people sat at each one. They still have plenty of room
and are able to take notes easily although they will have their seats placed at 90 degrees to
the table and will have to twist to write anything or if they sit facing the table they will
have to twist to see you.
The other challenge with this is that if people sit facing the tables and have to twist to see
you they may simply start a conversation between themselves as it is more comfortable to
do that than listen to you there is a possibility of losing the audience with this layout,
more than with the Cabaret style.
When using the Herringbone approach the table should be laid out so that with the centre
stage as a focal point, all tables fan out in straight lines so that you have direct eye contact
with everyone regardless of where they are in the room.
Cabaret Style Seating Arrangement
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The Herringbone works really well for getting lots of people into an efficient workspace. I
have literally stood on stage with a long rope and guided the team to align the tables along
it when it is stretched out from the central focal point on the stage looks very impressive
in a large room when done properly.
Remember with any layout to accommodate entrance aisles, emergency exits and if you are
going to bring people to the stage for awards for example make sure that there is plenty
of room for them to get through the tables and that the steps up to the stage are solid and
secure they should access the stage from one of the sides not the front of the stage..
The other most popular seating arrangement is theatre style literally where rows of seats
are laid out as in a theatre or cinema this layout is good for information only or shut up
and listen type events. Connection with all the audience is difficult and they cannot take
notes or do any table work. These layouts remind me of either damp Sundays in the local
parish church or of mass meetings of union members or public meetings.
In smaller venues there are other options that are available again the choice may be
dictated by the venues available space and equipment.
Herring Bone Seating Arrangement
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Board Room Style one large rectangular table with people arranged around it. Make sure
you are positioned at the front of the room so everyone can see and hear you.
A popular variation is the Wedding Party similar to the Board Room, just watch the
temptation to wander up the aisle between the tables you will lose control.
Temperature from the presenters point of view, keep the room cold so that the audience
dont nod off say around 18 Degrees. Will depend on the duration of the presentation and
what activities are involved in my experience its easier to warm up than cool down a
Screen with the screen in the middle of the stage area, you will have to be presenting
from the side which side depends on where you feel comfortable. A variation is to put
yourself in the middle of the stage and have the screen offset to the side, or to have dual
screens one on each side of you. Being in the middle of the stage is a much better place
for you to be so consider these options in your room layout.
Board Room Seating Arrangement
Screen or front of room
Screen or front of room
Presenter watch out
Wedding Seating Arrangement
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Lighting check out all the lights. Make sure that the tubes dont flicker especially if you
are showing videos, or there are no humming noises from transformers in the ceiling. The
room should be a little darker than the stage and if you are using spot lights remember they
will tend to cook you when you are on stage have an electric fan off to the side to keep
you cool. Also, watch for ceiling spots that may wash out your screen have the bulbs
taken out if you are in any doubt.
Audio where you can, use audio amplification it will save your voice. Make sure you do a
sound check and dont use a hand held mike you are not a singer, you are presenter and
you will need your hands free to communicate. If you use audio, always do a sound check
and make sure that you have fresh batteries in the microphones at the start of EVERY
session. Use lapel microphones with sponge filters to take out any background noise and
ALWAYS remember that if you go to the restroom and leave a radio microphone on it will
continue to transmit. Personal experience here
The room should ideally have plenty of fabrics and soft surfaces to help with the acoustics
if you have the choice go for a room with carpet over one without, if there are curtains,
have them drawn if possible
Drinks always have some still water or apple juice at room temperature available for you
when you are on stage. Tables should have water and glasses on them, forget fruit cordials,
still water is fine.
Electrics make sure you have adaptor plugs for your laptop and projector if you are using
your own remember that voltage differences in the USA for example wont operate UK