A quick and easy public speaking tip is to ask yourself, “Where am I speaking?” The room you’ll be in can affect how you deliver your speech. You’ll want to know how the audience will be positioned, the location of the projector screen, and the size of the room. Other times, the lighting can even throw you and your audience off. I’ve seen rooms where one entire wall was filled with windows facing to the east (without shades)–not too good for those early morning meetings. Knowing where you are speaking is an often overlooked public speaking tip but one that can save you from a bad presentation.
A few years ago I was part of a speech evaluation competition. Yes, you evaluate someone on his/her speech and then judges evaluate your evaluation. Go to to www.toastmasters.org for more fun like this.
The competition was held in a modern church and the competitors performed at the center stage of the room. I’m used to performing in a square room with all of the chairs lined up in rows in front of me. This room was shaped like a half octagon, and the chairs were spread out in a semi-circle around the presenter.
Why was this such a problem? Whenever a speaker spoke to one part of the audience, 2/3 of the audience either saw the speaker’s side or backside. You had to move around much more in order to make eye contact with the entire audience. But wait, there’s more. You don’t know who the judges are in advance and they are spread out among the crowd. Tons of fun. I ended up doing well but it was unnerving to deal with the odd setup. I wish I had gone to the site ahead of time to learn the setup of the room.
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