Speech-Time Exclusive, Issue #003 -- Room Set-Up: What Should You Look For?
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Speech-Time Exclusive, Issue #003 -- Room Set-Up: What Should You Look For?
July 01, 2008

Room Set-Up: What Should You Look For?

Room Set-Up: What Should You Look For?

I was reminded the other day of an experience a friend of mine had: she was giving a presentation, and in the middle, she heard a scratching noise. Looking across the room, there was a live iguana about to fall off of a cupboard - it was scratching the wood trying to hold on! Needless to say, she lost both her concentration and her audience's attention.

How can you avoid situations like these? The first and best solution is to pick your room carefully. Here's a couple things to keep in mind.

1. Acoustics: Will all members of the audience be able to hear you? Oddly shaped rooms may have dead spots. Some rooms may echo. Avoid these.

2. View: Will everybody be able to see you? If you're in a large auditorium or other spacious venue, are there projector screens?

3. Equipment: Does it have the technological equipment you need? If you have visual aids, is there a place you can set them up?

4. How big is the room? Do you want a larger audience, or a more intimate setting?

5. Comfort: How comfortable will the audience be? You don't want them to be distracted by poor seating.

But what if you can't pick your room? Find out a couple more tricks after the quote.


Lecturer, n. One with his hand in your pocket, his tongue in your ear and his faith in your patience. (Ambrose Bierce, Devil's Dictionary)


What if you don't have any say about the room you'll be speaking in? In that case, there's a couple things you can do to make certain things go smoothly.

1. Check it out beforehand. If you can, bring someone else with you so that you can test the acoustics. Walk around talking on the stage, and have a friend listening out in the room to inform you of any dead spots.

2. Talk to the maintenance staff. They're a lot more likely than the management to know of any possible problems.

In the end, however, the room is just that - a room. What matters most is your skill and your passion, things you have total control over.

Happy Speaking,


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