Your audiences, circumstances, and physical contexts for presenting can vary. Being prepared to deal with different presenting situations can help reduce anxiety around giving a speech, so let’s look at some common factors to keep in mind as you prepare for a typical business presentation.
Using Lecterns: Lecterns add formality to the presentation situation, but they can be tempting to hide behind. Use a lectern only to hold your notes only. This will enhance your eye contact as well as free up your hands for gesturing, thus giving the appearance of confidence.
Large spaces: auditoriums or other large spaces can be intimidating. Preparation and practice will prevent poor performance; a rehearsal, if available, can also ease nerves. Slow your speech to allow for echo, and adjust visual aids so they can be seen by those in the back of the hall.
Small spaces: small areas are usually easier to manage for presenters, but you will need to proceed more carefully with things such as note cards and visual aids; close quarters may allow your audience to read your notes, video prompts, etc. Ideally, arrive early to set up your presentation material, check out the space, and prevent fumbling or delays.
Outdoors: Noise (cars, wind, sirens), insects, weather, blinding sun, and other environmental factors may be hard to control. Do your best to project your voice without yelling, and choose locations that are quiet, sheltered, and free of passersby if possible.
Using a Microphone: you can avoid difficulties with microphones by doing a rehearsal or test ahead of time. Ensure you enunciate clearly and leave a few inches between your face and the microphone.
Small Audience Size: A small audience will allow for greater contact, but may invite interruptions. Deal with any questions politely and, if necessary, let your audience know that you will answer specific questions at the end of the presentation. You may wish to set the agenda at the beginning so that the audience knows there will be a question and answer period at the end.
The following web pages provide some additional concepts and strategies for presentations:
“40. Preparing For Your Delivery” from Communication for Business Professionals by eCampusOntario is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.