Giving a presentation to your colleagues at work needn't be a horrific experience. All it takes is a little planning and preparation on your part to impress the boss and keep your coworkers awake while imparting the information you want to get across.
The environment of a presentation can be key to success or failure. Many a fine presentation was ruined by an uncomfortable or unsuitable environment. The make the environment as comfortable and productive as possible try to arrange the following items:
1) Room size and location. You want to have the room fit the number of people attending your presentation. Too small a room and your listeners may have to stand, or even sit on the floor. Too large a room, and your listeners could be scattered all over the four corners of the place, making it difficult to establish eye contact, or draw in your audience. If at all possible, have a good idea how many people are attending your presentation before you book a room.
The room location should be clearly indicated in any brochures or advertisements for your presentation. You don't want your audience wandering all over a building looking for your room and missing half your presentation. You also don't want your room location to be too close to a potential distraction, like a swimming pool, or a bar.
2) Room temperature, seating, tables. You want the temperature to be cool enough to keep your listeners awake, yet warm enough so they aren't uncomfortable. Ask your listeners before you begin if they are comfortable. Show them where the thermostat is so they can adjust it during the presentation if need be.
Seats should have good back support, and there should be enough seats for everyone. The seats should have armrests and be adjustable.
Tables should be clean of any extraneous items and allow for a unobstructed view of the speaker. You may want to be sure the tables are grouped together to facilitate team work and exchange of ideas. Prepare the tables with any materials the participants need for your presentation, such as paper to take notes, outlines or copies of the slides you are presenting, pens, markers (if needed), and name tags.
3) Comfort. Nothing is worse for a presenter than a room full of caffeine or food depraved listeners. If you have a morning presentation, it is pleasant to offer coffee, tea, juice and other breakfast type items such as cereal bars or muffins for the participants to have prior or during your presentation. For a later day presentation, pitchers of ice water, soda, and energy bars are appreciated. If your room is near a place that offers food, such as a cafeteria, or vending machines, please point these out to your participants prior to getting into your talk. In addition to food, please tell your listeners where the bathrooms are.
Now that your environment is conducive to good listening and your listeners are comfortable and feel a little pampered and special, all eyes and ears will be on you, not on their growling tummies or sore backs. All it takes is a little preparation.
Mary Casey, MS, PT has given many presentations at major teaching hospitals on the east coast.