Know your public speaking venue

While knowledge of the location of your speech has only marginal benefits to you, the potential pitfalls of not knowing your venue can have a devastating effect on the day of your public speaking event.

I do consider certain props (e.g. availability of microphones, computers with presentation software, spotlights on the face of the public speaker etc.) relevant to the venue, but I also cover public speaking tools and props in a separate section. Please consider that section hand-in-hand with this one.

This checklist should act as a guideline to items you should consider when preparing for the speech

  • What is the capacity of the venue?
  • How full will it be?
  • Is the venue wide? Or long?
  • Is the venue on a single level or tiered?
  • Will you be at the same level as the audience or on a raised level?
  • Will you be speaking with or without a microphone?
  • Will there be a power source at your speaking location?
  • Will there be a computer at your speaking location?
  • Will there be water available at your speaking location?
  • Will the computer be connected to a screen visible by the audience?
  • Where will you be positioned prior to the speech?
  • Will you be standing, or more unusually, seated, during your speech
  • Will there be anyone sitting or standing behind you?
  • Will there be a lectern or table? If so, will it have a lamp?
  • Will the house lights be on? Or just the stage?
  • Will there be any spotlights on you?

Answering these questions, and any other considerations pertinent to your speech, will ensure you have thought through every aspect of your public speaking experience and will not face any surprises on the day. In fact, you may well be in a position to use some of the knowledge you discover about the venue to enhance your speech.

 

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