Power Presentations: The Environment

Power Presentations: The Environment

The place and conditions in which you present have an important influence on how well your message is received. If the environment isn’t right, participants won’t pay the required attention and will become irritated.
To do a truly great job, it is very important that you be familiar with your presentation room in advance. Where will it be? Will you be in a board room at head office or a district branch? At a hotel, a college, or a conference centre? What facilities will be available?
Make every effort to visit the location so that you can determine what adjustments are necessary. Give yourself enough lead time for special arrangements as to seating, equipment, microphones, lighting, and whatever you want to change.

The Venue

Beware of Boardrooms

The boardroom is the worst place to present. Traditionally it is a place of flogging – of assigning blame for the last failed project or fighting over turf. The mindset hardens when managers and executives enter the boardroom. They know they are there to defend or attack. The seating arrangement is adversarial. It is difficult to find the perfect spot from which to speak. Your listeners need to crane their necks to see you no matter where you stand. Many things work against you when presenting in the boardroom so avoid presenting new ideas in the boardroom. It is a sure way to have your ideas quashed. When you want to present new ideas to your people take them offsite where you control the setting. For a better understanding of the hazards of presenting in the boardroom read the article, “Boardroom Presentations: Sweat Like a Horse” at the website, www.PowerPresentations.ca.


If you have control over this, choose the city and site of your presentation carefully. I highly recommend that you spend more money obtaining the right environment and less on food and open bars.
A hotel is always better than your own board room. The neutrality of the location will help the audience concentrate on what you present rather than on unfinished tasks at the office. Make sure the site is easy for everyone to reach. Pick a hotel that is close to main highways and the airport.


Send a detailed map and directions well in advance. In your directions describe easy recognizable visual landmarks such as traffic lights, church, park and grocery store. Clearly indicate the name and address of the hotel, the presentation room and floor, the telephone number, the date and the exact time of the meeting.
In the lobby place a welcome sign with the name of your group. Indicate the meeting room and point the direction with arrows. Post another sign outside of the meeting room and you or your designate should greet the arrivals.

Also, double check that everyone is given accurate directions for finding your location by quizzing the front desk clerk. Pretend you do not know where to go (even if you do!) and find out if they are able to give you the correct information.
Make your visitors feel welcomed and do everything you can to minimize their stress. The easier you make if for people to find the meeting the more likely they will arrive on time and in the right frame of mind - ready to listen to your presentation.
If you have an out-of-town site, check that there is adequate and (hopefully) free parking. In your directions point out the best and alternate parking choices. Eliminate surprises. Tell them if they might need to pay for parking. Plan to park near the exit rather than the entrance so that you can leave quickly for your next meeting.


The above is an excerpt from the revised Secrets of Power Presentations.

George Torok

Executive Speech Coach

Presentation Skills Training

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