April 19, 2012

What Goes Wrong When Presenting Outside Your Club

by Promod Sharma, President 2011-2012, CC

What went wrong?

You practiced your presentation in your club but you made many mistakes in your delivery outside. You know because you recorded yourself. How could you get worse? Let's explore what goes wrong.


Your club is a warm, friendly environment (if not, look for another club). You know the members and they know you. You're familiar with the layout of the room and the equipment.


Outside is different. You may not know anyone where you're speaking. Traffic may have frazzled your nerves en route to the event. Construction, accidents and traffic jams occur at the most awkward times.
You may never have seen the venue before. The room layout may have obstructions. The audience may be closer or further away than you'd like. The microphone may be fixed to the podium rather than wearable. The sound system may be weak or cause distortion.

You may not have time to setup because another speaker is preceding you and you prefer to use your own equipment.


Here's an example of a recent presentation. I was setup but an organizer did a brief presentation first. There wasn't enough time to put both presentations on the same computer. I could only setup again after getting introduced and there was a slight glitch (which I removed from the video). This made the introduction more stressful and less impactful.

The camera angle is awkward but I needed a spot that didn't obstruct the audience's view or pick up sound from the projector's fan.

I used more crutchwords than usual. I'm glad there's no royalty for "so". Some sentences should have been been split up. After all, periods are free. I lost my train of thought on occasion. I have better answers to questions now than at the time.


Despite the shortcomings, the audience was satisfied. We tend to be more critical of ourselves then they are.  They didn't know that I forgot to deliver my summary after the question period. They do know that, my microphone transmitter fell to the floor with a thump. That's embarrassing but not a show-stopper. A show-pauser perhaps?

If you don't record yourself, your memory will distort the events. You may think you're better or worse than you were. Either way, you lose an opportunity to improve.

Keep practicing in your club. You may never be as comfortable outside but you will get better.


Promod Sharma posts nearly all his presentations and other resources online at http://www.promodsharma.com/presentations.

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