When preparing for a high-stakes presentation, avoid surprises by getting information about the venue. Check out recommendations from Duarte!

Floor and seating plan:

How is the room arranged? Does it have classroom seating? Round tables? Is the size of the room appropriate for the number of attendees you expect? It’s better for people to sit close together, feeding off one another’s energy, than to feel lost and disconnected in a cavernous space. Will you be elevated on a stage? If so, could the audience see you if you stand down on the same level as them to help make your talk feel more personable? Do you have room to walk around and connect with people? If you’ll be on stage, where will the lights hit the floor? Mark any pockets of darkness with tape so you can avoid them (this is very important for talks recorded on video). Does the room have any poles that will obstruct the audience’s view? Do what you can to work around them. Is there a podium? We would remove it—it’s a visual barrier that puts distance between you and the audience—unless you need a place to put your notes.

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