If you're lucky, when you have to present you know the exact details and layout of the venue. You can zip into your room, knowing precisely what technology is there and how many people are attending, and comfortably launch into your excellent presentation. But what if you know absolutely NOTHING about where you are or the circumstances of your presentation. What then? Today's presentation skills training "What if..." offers some solutions and ideas to help you even before you arrive at a mystery venue.
What if...I am completely unfamiliar with the location in which I am being asked to present (layout, number of people, technology available, etc)?
Answer from Kerri: In that case, it’s all in the timing. First step: if you can, do your best to find out everything you can about the space. It’s certainly not too much to ask to know what your technology hookup or audience may be like ahead of time. Often, there’s an admin or event coordinator who would be more than happy to help you track down as much information as possible.
If you’ve done your investigating and you’re still coming up short information-wise, this is where timing comes in. Allow yourself as much lead time as possible before you present. If you can arrive with a few hours to spare, great! The more time you can give yourself to figure out your presenting location and space, the more calm you’ll be going in.
When you give yourself extra time in the space, you can also make an unexpected (since it’s unknown!) layout work for you. If you can move tables, chairs, etc, do so. Make it comfortable for you and your presentation needs. Facility managers can also be a great help with this, and are often just a phone call away.
As for your technology, the best option may be to build a speaker kit for yourself to help you be as prepared as possible for any presenting scenario. Invest in a few different kinds of visual hookups (for example, an HDMI cable or others) and bring them with you. You’ll greatly increase your chances of having what you need regardless of what’s available. And don’t forget to have your presentation loaded on a USB drive, as well as on your computer itself. It will make last minute room or hookup changes easier to navigate.
Want to know exactly what to put in your Speaker's Toolkit? Check out our infographic!