Executive Speaking Weblog

Communication – the future of business

Room Layout Can Kill You

Posted by Presentation Skills on September 10, 2007

I have recently been engaged to develop a training program for the Network Marketing industry.  This program will focus on overcoming objections, and how to avoid them in the first place.  You can get more details on it here – Communication in Network Marketing

As part of my research I attended a meeting of the local Tupperware bussiness.  The night was “The Boys Night In”.  All the male distrubitors had the opportunity let us know what it was like to be a male distributor in a female dominated industry.

In the first part of the evening, Steve cooked up some hamburger steaks and a potato salad.  This showed how easy the products were to use and to sell.  What a great way to sell product!

Unfortunately, neither Steve nor the managers of the venue had looked at the room to see how the props that he was going to use would be seen by the audience.  Unfortunately they couldn’t be seen!

Steve was cooking at a stove and working from a bench.  The platform that he was working on was slightly raised, but not high enough for people down the back of the room to be able to see what he was doing.  As a consequence, more than half the room could not see what was happening.  Initially people lifted their heads to see, but as the presentation wore on, more and more people just resorted to listening and not looking.  This made his props redundant.

So how could have this been avoided? 

The most obvious improvement would have been a mirror placed above the stove and bench that the audience could look at.  This would have shown us what he was doing.  However, this is a costly (but permenant!) solution.  An easier and more simple solution was to simply hold the props up for people to see.  By holding the slicers and dicers up we would have been able to see what was being used and have been able to receive the training that he was delivering.

So how was he to know this?  By simply sitting in our seats before the meeting and looking around to see what we were going to see.  This would have alerted him to the problem and he could have then taken steps to fix it.

The physical layout of the room can have a massive impact on the result of your presenation.  Sit in your audiences seat to see what they will see. If you don’t like it, chances are the audience wont either!

‘Til next time,

Cheers

Darren Fleming

Australia’s Public Speaking Coach

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