Public Speaking Do’s and Don’ts
How to put your best foot forward by avoiding common AV missteps
Preparation is key to delivering a stellar presentation, whether it’s a seminar, workshop or keynote address. But speaking engagements can easily be sidetracked or stalled if presenters don’t pay attention to the audio/visual (AV) equipment they’re using. These best practices from Meetings Net can help presenters avoid common AV issues, such as feedback or low volume.
- Don’t turn your head. When you move your head away from the microphone, the audio isn’t as clear as when you’re speaking directly into it, making it hard for attendees to hear what you’re saying. Instead, turn your shoulders as you speak to the crowd so that your face remains in line with the microphone and your voice projects properly.
- Don’t walk in front of the speakers. Unfortunately, most of us have attended presentations where the audio speakers emitted an awful, high-pitched screech because the microphone was either too loud or was too close to another electrical object. To avoid this annoying and embarrassing distraction, presenters need to know where the audio speakers are located and try to stay a fair distance from them.
- Do check in with the AV technician to make sure you understand how everything works. AV techs are there to help you have a successful and engaging presentation, so be proactive to save yourself time and stress on the day you present. They're the best resource for presentation specs, such as PowerPoint dimensions and video capabilities, so ask for parameters before setting up your presentation to ensure it will work properly. And provide any materials (such as a PDF or thumb drive) you may be using during your speech beforehand to have them ready to go. In addition, ask for a brief update on how the AV system works, so if you have any questions or concerns, they can be addressed before you start your presentation.
- Do improvise if something goes awry. In the event that a mishap occurs, address it promptly and continue to move through your presentation as seamlessly as possible to make sure you don’t lose the audience’s attention. If the problem persists, remain calm and professional, and acknowledge the trouble-shooting efforts of the AV team.