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Public Speaking Course: 

Line of Sight

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

I have seen it so many times 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. Most of the time this occurs 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 and they only see you in profile.

Another situation is when there are pillars in the room. The setup people normally just put tables up to suit themselves and forget that the people sitting in the chairs might want to actually see what is going on at the stage. When you have pillars to deal with you must be very aware of your stage positioning. 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 noting 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 plant yourself near it.

It's your job to check every chair in the room to be sure every participant has an unobstructed line of sight for each part of 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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