? Will the conference venue have a bearing on the technology I should use?
? If I get an opportunity to check out the venue before my presentation, what should I look for?
? I know the subject pretty well, why should I rehearse?

Will the conference venue have a bearing on the technology I should use?

Yes. You may find your presentation is in a small seminar room to 20 people, or it could be in an auditorium to an audience of 1,000. Whatever you choose, you will need to ensure that your message is clearly conveyed to your entire audience.

Many conference venues are unaware of the sophisticated requirements of contemporary presentations. They may offer bare rooms with inappropriate lighting, no stage, no screen and no audio equipment. You need to check this out well in advance, plan your requirements and set aside extra rehearsal time. If you're not entirely confident, consider using a presentation support company to set up, check and monitor your presentation and your technology.

If I get an opportunity to check out the venue before my presentation, what should I look for?

It's always a good idea to inspect the venue as far ahead of your presentation date as possible. If you're using in-house equipment, ask to see it operating and check it thoroughly. If you're using your own equipment, bring it along and set it up at the venue well in advance to check that it is suitable for the environment.

Some of the things to check, include:

  • legibility of the images from all areas of the audience

  • an uninterrupted view of the screen

  • the ability to control lighting on stage and in the rest of the auditorium

  • the height of the stage and its distance from the audience (does seating permit close audience rapport?)

  • sufficient power supply outlets

  • the ability to be seen and heard in all parts of the room.

  • a place for you to rest your papers and transparencies

Check the projector:

  • do both lamps work

  • do you have a spare projector bulb?

  • are the lens and slide holder clean?

  • do you know the locations of all the projector's switches and controls? : on/off, dimmer, lamp change, alignment, focus, etc.

I know the subject pretty well, why should I rehearse?

If you get a chance to rehearse at the venue, you'll feel much more comfortable when the time comes to make your presentation. Rehearsing gives you the opportunity to familiarize yourself with your equipment and your spoken words.

This may be a good time to also think of ways to involve your audience. You'll probably find there are places in your presentation where it's natural to ask or seek a question, or call for an audience reaction. Note this down and use it in your presentation. Your message will have more impact and the audience will enjoy it more if they feel involved.

If you don't have access to the venue before the event, practice at home or the office and ask some people, whose opinion you respect, to offer constructive feedback. This is where you may get your some of your best presentation tips. If you want a truly objective opinion, many presentation support companies offer expert feedback and training services which will help you fine tune your skills.

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