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Have You Checked Out Your Speaking Venue?
Frank DiBartolomeo --  Presentation Coach For Technical Professionals Frank DiBartolomeo -- Presentation Coach For Technical Professionals
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Centreville, VA
Sunday, February 12, 2023


“Speakers who talk about what life has taught them never fail to keep the attention of their listeners”

– Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People

Have you ever thought about the importance of your speaking venue? Your venue’s location, audio capabilities, and physical layout will affect your presentation.

Below are my thoughts on the effect your venue’s location, audio capabilities, and physical layout will affect your presentation

Location, Location, Location

Always view your presentation venue a few days before you deliver it. This will put your mind at ease and allow you time to overcome any challenges.

You know the saying about what to consider when buying a house – “Location, Location, Location.” You should also follow this advice when selecting a venue for your speaking.

Ask yourself questions like

  • How easy is it for attendees to get to the venue?

  • Is it easy for the attendees to park close to the venue?

  • Is the commuting time for the attendees during rush hour?

You love a venue that is easy for attendees to get to, with easy and close parking, and with minimal commuting time.

However, reality will force you to make compromises. In this case, the best thing to do is to prioritize the one or two most important items of the venue and ensure these characteristics are fulfilled.

One of those items is how you should adjust your speaking program to account for people who are late. Don’t neglect this.

The above questions are predicated on the assumption you will get to select the venue. This, more often than not, does not happen. You will frequently be asked to speak at a venue, not of your choice. Ironically, you should ask the same questions as if you could select the venue:

  • How easy is it for attendees to get to the venue?

  • Is it easy for the attendees to park close to the venue?

  • Is the commuting time for the attendees during rush hour?

When you cannot select the venue, you still need to know the answers to these questions.

So, determine the answers to these questions and plan accordingly.

Whether you speak in person, virtually, or a combination of these, your audio during your presentation will either contribute to your presentation’s success or failure.


The quality of your audio during your in-person presentation affects your success. In virtual presentations, the quality of your audio is more important than the quality of your video. Believe it or not!

At your presentation venue, the following qualities of your audio should be considered: quality of the sound system (Does it have a tinny sound or not?), the reach of the sound system (Can everyone hear you with equal volume?), and reliability of the sound system (You don’t want to the sound system to fail during your presentation.).

Cheap sound systems have a tinny sound. You want the sound system to appear to your attendees like you were talking to them three feet away in person. A very good creation of your voice amplified is what you seek. This being said, you are at the mercy of the sound system for, usually, the venue you did not select. You have to make the best of it.

Have you ever delivered a presentation when some audience members can hear you clearly and others cannot? If this is the case, the sound system does not have audio speakers adequately dispersed about the venue room. Unfortunately, the only way to combat this during your presentation is to request the people who cannot hear you adequately to relocate to a place in the venue room where the sound is sufficient. If you can determine whether the volume is evenly dispersed throughout the venue room, all the better. You can then request before your presentation for audience members to move closer, thus not interrupting your presentation.

What is your backup plan if the sound system fails? The only thing you can do is similar to the above – request the people who cannot hear you adequately to relocate closer to you, so the sound volume is sufficient.

Checking the audio in the venue room is one area some speakers miss. You’re a speaker, right? Audience members have to hear you for your presentation to succeed. You need to ensure this happens regardless of the sound system.

So, you now know your venue’s location and the audio quality at your location are essential items to check before your presentation.

The third item concerning your venue is the physical items in the venue room: seating arrangement, lighting, and the lectern.

Physical Items

The audience seating arrangement will determine your audience engagement.

If you want to encourage discussion between audience members and between you and audience members, a U-shaped seating arrangement works well because your audience members can see each other. It would also be good if you stated in your introduction that you encourage discussion between audience members and between you and audience members.

If you are conveying information for which your audience members need to concentrate, rows of chairs with an aisle down the middle fit the bill.

If you have parts of your presentation where small groups meet, tables, preferably round tables with six chairs at each table, will encourage discussion in the small groups.

Some other considerations are:

  • Ensure no chairs or tables are behind pillars in the room.

  • Ensure audio and video wires are not on the floor where audience members can trip on them.

  • Ensure there are no murals, posters, or photographs on the venue’s walls. They will distract your audience, which is the last thing you want to happen.

Lighting is another essential physical item. You don’t want the venue lighting too dim, causing audience members to become drowsy or go to sleep. However, you don’t want the lighting too bright either. Check out the lighting on your visit days before your presentation. There is a happy medium. Find it.

You mustn’t turn the lighting off during any videos you show. Instead, keep the lighting up, so the video is not washed out.

The last physical consideration is the lectern. It is essential to know that the purpose of a lectern is to hold your notes. That’s it. It is not to lean on or hide behind.

I always use a lectern whether talking to five people or five-hundred people. By the way, there is nothing wrong with you glancing at your notes on the lectern during your presentation.

So, what should you ask about your in-person venue?

  • What effect does the venue location have on your presentation?

  • What is the quality of the audio system?

  • What is the most appropriate seating arrangement, lighting, the best location for the lectern?

Call to Action

  • If you can select your venue location (not likely), consider the following: ease of travel for attendees, parking situation, possible rush hour traffic

  • Audio in your presentation will make or break its success. Test the audio system at your venue days before your presentation. You may not be able to change it, but at least you know its condition before your presentation and can adjust.

  • Always use a lectern when you speak; remember, the purpose of a lectern is purely to support your notes; do not lean on or hide behind the lectern.

“If you can speak, you can influence. If you can influence, you can change lives”

– Rob Brown, Motivational Speaker

Frank DiBartolomeo is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and award-winning speaker, presentation and interview skills coach, and Professional Member of the National Speakers Association. He was awarded Toastmasters International’s highest individual award, Distinguished Toastmaster because of his outstanding work in public speaking and leadership.

Frank formed DiBartolomeo Consulting International (DCI), LLC (www.speakleadandsucceed.com) in 2007. The mission of DCI is to help technical professionals to inspire, motivate, and influence their colleagues and other technical professionals by improving their presentation skills, communication, and personal presence. Reach Frank at frank@speakleadandsucceed.com and (703) 509-4424.


Don’t miss Frank DiBartolomeo’s latest book!

“Speak Well and Prosper: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Better Presentations”

Available now at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Frank DiBartolomeo, Jr.
Title: President
Group: DiBartolomeo Consulting International, LLC
Dateline: Centreville, VA United States
Cell Phone: (703) 509-4424
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