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Public Speaking Course:

Line of Sight

My public speaking course will teach you how to be prepared for any situation and properly set up your room to maximize its effectiveness. You will notice that some rooms will have crazy setups that really make no sense at all. It's your job to be there early and make sure all the little details are taken care of. One of these details is the visibility of you and your visuals from each chair in the audience.

It doesn't even amaze me any more that a hotel room setup crew would put up a projection screen that 1/3 of the audience couldn't possibly see, I see it all the time. Usually this happens when tables or chairs are placed too far forward in the room. The people on the sides are at much too sharp an angle to see anything on the screen, so they only see your profile.

Another problem is when there are big pillars in the room. The people that setup usually just put tables up anywhere and forget that the people sitting in the chairs might want to actually see the program. When you have pillars to deal with you must be very aware of how the seats will see the stage. You won't be able to be seen the entire time by everyone because of the pillars, but you can limit the time you are unseen by marking the worst areas of the stage with an 'X' of tape on the floor. Avoid standing still anywhere near the 'X.' It's OK to pass by or over the 'X,' just don't keep yourself near it for your whole presentation.

It's your job to check every chair in the room to be sure every attendee will have an unobstructed line of sight for your presentation. They must be able to see the screen, the flipchart and to see you no matter where you walk to on the stage.

If possible, try to be in the room early when lots of setup crew are around so that you can make the adjustments before the room is totally set. Taking care of details like this is important to remember from your public speaking course.

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