Join Petrula Vrontikis for an in-depth discussion in this video Making the most of the location, part of Running a Design Business: Presentation Skills.
Where your presentation takes place is based on the number of people involved, where they're located, and the technology that's needed. I'll review the most common locations presentations take place. Here we go. Someone's desk or small table is often good enough for informal presentations, one-on-one design or research reviews. It's the perfect place to demo designs that are on your iPad or on your laptop. Virtual presentations using real-time video technology, such as Skype.
Google Hangout, or Adobe Connect are ideal for internal presentations with teams in different locations. They provide easy access to everyone's computers and devices, which is helpful for cross-referencing files. Communal dashboard spaces allow team members to work on a project at any time and have an ongoing record of updates, changes and comments. Virtual spaces allow significant collaboration for team members, but can be less than ideal location for approval presentations outside of the design team.
Most participants are only partially focused on the presentation because the technology allows for significant discreet multitasking. Trust me. They're not completely focused on you. They're googling or checking email. A conference room or board room is great for approval phase presentations because it enables the presenter to have control over the meeting. This location creates a formality that emphasizes everyone's role in the project. Often the room includes technology to enlarge imagery, or has easels for presentation boards.
If possible, arrive early and arrange for access to the room. Situate yourself in the optimal position where the audience will be focused on you. If there are windows, you should face them so that your audience isn't distracted. Arrange the chair so no one's behind you. Move away any unneeded items from view, including your personal belongings. Set up and test any audio and video equipment. Find outlets and organize cables. Connect your laptop to the video projector or set up easels to hold your presentation boards.
An auditorium is ideal for a larger audience, say, over 20 people. You are in authority position as an expert to inform or inspire. You have complete control over a presentation structure and its delivery. It can be more complicated because more technology is needed for amplification of sound and enlarging visuals. Arrive at least 45 minutes beforehand to set up and test your video equipment. Also test your microphone, control the lighting, and even adjust the temperature of the room.
Ideally, all of your setup should be done 15 minutes before the presentation start time, so the audience doesn't see you testing and setting up. As you can see, there are unique considerations to each one these locations. In the resource files, I've included a check list for each one of them. So you can make sure you're ready no matter where your presentation is going to take place.
- Presenting one-on-one, to a team, or to a larger audience
- Choosing a presentation format
- Introducing your design and providing context
- Persuading your audience
- Developing visual aids
- Creating a great first impression
- Understanding verbal and nonverbal cues
- Getting approval
- Facilitating a Q&A session