So how do you prepare to give a speech? Write your words? Create some PowerPoint slides? it turns out there is a very important thing that you may have gotten lost, taking control of the room in which you will be speaking …
Everyone is a stage, including your room
Sometimes when you give a speech, you actually stand on a stage. However, other times you just stand in front of a room. It doesn’t matter how you do it, as a speaker you can define how big your “stage” is.
The bigger the room (and audience), the bigger you want your stage to be. This means that you will use the left and right parts of the stage while giving your speech. If you are speaking in a smaller room, or to a smaller audience, you will want to limit the amount of stage space you are using in order to increase the level of intimacy what your audience feels.
As we’ve all seen when we’ve seen really polished speakers, you never have to just confine yourself to the front of the room. If it works with your speech and if you are comfortable doing it, you can walk to the back of the room while speaking, as long as it works with what you are currently saying.
Finally, where your audience sits can be very important. We have all seen situations where the front rows of a room are left empty by an audience seated in the back. As a speaker, you can invite (or insist that) your audience occupy the front seats before you begin speaking.
How to set up your stage
One thing to remember as a speaker: you control the room. Although there are sometimes limitations to what can be done, it never hurts to ask to have a room set up in the best way to match your speech.
One possible configuration is to have the chairs in the room arranged in a circle. This is a great way to make it easier for your audience members to talk to each other. An alternative is to position the chairs in a “U” shape that allows for eye contact and conversation between audience members while keeping everyone’s attention on you, the speaker.
As your audience grows larger, your seating options get smaller. In general, for formal presentations, the standard classroom seating structure with rows and columns of seats works best. When faced with this type of seating system, you still have the ability to control the room.
To take over a room, you must be able to bring your speech to your audience. This means that where you give your speech is up to you. You own the stage and you can decide where you want to stand and move.
There is no correct answer to the question of where a speaker should stand during a speech. Some prefer to stay on or near the lectern, while others wander the entire stage. Choose which technique works best for both you and your audience.
Take control of your proximity
You physical distance from your audience it can be a key part of your speech. As a speaker, you control the distance between you and the people you are talking to.
The greater the distance, the more formal the speech will be interpreted. Since you have the ability to move on stage, you can reduce the amount of space between you and your audience no matter how large the room is. By reducing this space, you can make your speech become more intimate and connect more closely with your audience.
What all this means to you
When you are giving a speech, you are in charge of everything and this includes the room in which you are delivering your speech. Taking the time to set up the room to match your speech it is one of your most important tasks as a speaker.
When you are preparing the room in which you will speak, you can control where your audience sits – Are they far from you or are they close? You can change the layout of the room depending on the type of speech you are giving: is it an intimate talk or is it a great presentation?
Speakers know that the way they set up the room will determine how close they can get to your audience. Done correctly, the room will help the speaker make a positive and lasting impression on the audience.