Scan the Stage or Platform

scanthestageHaving taken a good look at the stage area well ahead of my presentation, I was able to foresee the restrictions, and to adjust my delivery accordingly.

I recently gave a presentation to a government department, in a room that was built like a theatre. It had rising seats, a large, low stage at the front, and a raised podium on one side of the stage. Behind the stage was a huge screen. The screen went from ceiling to floor, and was as wide as the stage. This configuration had major implications for me. I was using PowerPoint slides in this particular presentation, and my slides were critical to the message. This particular government department keeps heavy security; therefore, I was required to send them my presentation ahead of time. They loaded it up on their own system, so I was at the mercy of their stage configuration. The challenge for me was my lack of ability to travel across the stage, as is my regular rhythm, because I had to remain behind the podium, otherwise I’d obstruct the screen. In addition, the podium was equipped with a wired microphone, and a mouse for advancing the slides. Both the microphone and mouse cable were only long enough the reach the podium; there was no room for wandering. Having taken a good look at the stage area well ahead of my presentation, I was able to foresee the restrictions, and to adjust my delivery accordingly. Had I not taken the time to become familiar with the stage area, I might have inadvertently tried to pull the microphone onto the stage, or disconnected the mouse from the presentation computer, or walked right out in front of the presentation screen, any of which could have presented an awkward moment. I would’ve been able to easily recover from any of these little distractions had they occurred, but avoiding them by being aware just made me appear that much more professional and prepared.

So, what’s the lesson? Look for anything on the stage or platform that might restrict your normal delivery, so you can make any required adjustments, in order to avoid awkward mishaps.

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What is CSP?

The Certified Speaking Professional designation, established in 1980, is the speaking industry’s international measure of professional platform skill. The CSP designation is conferred by the National Speakers Association (NSA) only on those speakers who have earned it by meeting strict qualifying criteria. Only about 12% of the top professional speakers around the world hold this distinction.

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