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Creating the best conditions
for your keynote, workshop or seminar

The place and conditions in which one presents have a lot to do with how the message is received. This applies to anyone.

For starters, the room should be
  • well lighted
  • well ventilated away from noisy distractions.
  • Have soft, upbeat music playing before the presentation starts.
Additionally it should be
  • air-conditioned and freshly aired
  • with windows and doors to the rear.
  • If windows are behind the speaker, close curtains before presenting.
The best room dimensions
  • Should match the formula 1 wide x 1.5 deep, no matter what measurements you use, metric or imperial.
  • For instance 10 x 15 meters (30 x 45 feet), with no obstacles.
  • For more information, see Secrets of Power Presentations, pp 172.
For groups under 25
  • U-shaped arrangement is best (see SPP, page 176)
  • Two flipcharts
  • No microphone needed
For groups of 25 to 500
  • Round tables (Tables of 8, use only one side. Seat four to five people only on each table.)
  • Classroom Amphitheatre-style setup
  • V-shaped setup
  • A hand-held microphone with long cable or fresh battery
  • Raised floor 1 to 1.5 x 4 x 8 feet. Any audio-visual supply company can do this to specification.
  • Two flipcharts
  • Overhead and/or PowerPoint access
Do not seat people in old-fashioned classroom style, table after table directly in front of each other. Participants then see only the neck of the person in front of them.

Best is to place the tables at an angle, in a V-shape, with a small center aisle between. Set up so the speaker stands in the open neck of the V, not at the point. That way participants can see each other laugh. Even those who don't get the joke will start to laugh too...unless you have a presenter who puts people to sleep. Then everyone can watch each other fall asleep.

For 500 to 3,000
  • Hand-held microphone with long cable or fresh battery
  • Raised floor 1 x 4 x 8 meters
  • Overhead and/or PowerPoint access
Allow enough room for each participant. Do not pack them in like sardines in a can. Often we see beautiful rooms with abundant space, but the chairs are too tightly packed together. This simply results in participants leaving a lot of chairs empty.

Remember, people only sit at the front when no room is available in the back-so put some reservation signs in the back row.

Most the time 10-20% of participants will not show up (except in Switzerland and Germany...) They will all come only a couple of minutes before the curtains opens. (I think they hide themselves in the washrooms...) So it is smarter to have less chairs then needed. (Put the 10-20% in an adjacent room, so you just can roll them in, in case you need them). Through bringing in chairs at the last minute, YOU create a standing-room-only situation.... Wow, that must be a good session today... more show up then anticipated.

Length of presentations
Because Peter spent years in teaching, management, and presenting on stage he has material enough for anything from 45-minute keynotes to five-day seminars. For greatest impact, however, a presentation should never be longer than three hours. The only exception is for workshop sessions. In these, participants must do group discussions, or exercise presented material, and this takes longer.

For all-day sessions, take the following breaks
  • Two short 15-minutes breaks morning and afternoon with groups up to 30 people
  • The bigger your group the longer your break needs to be.
  • With groups of more than 100 the minimum break should be 30 minutes.
Never leave your group sitting longer then 1.5 hours. Even if your presenter is as good as Peter ... the mind can only endure as much as the body can stand.

For full day seminars
Start in the morning at 8:00 a.m. End at 12:00 noon. Light lunch.
Start again at 1:00 p.m. End at 3:00.
This involves six hours of learning--a lot!
Follow the same pattern if you start at 9:00 and end at 4:00.
It's also a great help to have a tall bar-stool for your presenter. (Just be sure to move it out of the bar.)

Participants will absorb more in a morning session than in the afternoon. Be sure to serve only a light lunch. No alcohol. There is an old saying: Be cheap with the food but generous with the surroundings and presenter! (After lunch people are distracted by calls to offices, homes, and other business.)

The impact a presenter has on his audience depends not only on the speaker, but on the lighting, the arrangment of the room, and his total perceived presence. The wise meeting planner tries to create the perfect ambience. For more information click here: Decorate your Speaker

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