Week 6 – Section 1 – Learner Reflection & Practice

Learner Reflection & Practice

Often presenters are so focused on content development that planning for the execution of the presentation takes a back seat. Are you including an inquiry into the environment that you will present in and planning for the specifics of the physical and technical circumstances?

Before you present, ask about the stage or environment.

What kind of configuration will you be presenting in and where will the audience be? Where is the display or screen? Will your image be displayed on a large screen for the audience? Will you be presenting at a lectern?

Are you going to be mic’d? If so, for a lavalier mic, make sure you wear attire you can clip the battery pack and mic to. For a stationary mic, plan to move in the sphere around the mic so it can pick up your voice. For a handheld mic, plan for gesturing with your free arm and hand and switching the mic to the other hand at times.

Think about how the stage configuration will inform your footwear and wardrobe choices. Does the stage configuration lend an atmosphere of formality or informality? What navigational tools are necessary to draw or direct audience focus in that particular stage configuration? Think about how and when you will request full focus with your orientation and plan for how and when you will direct focus to your screen or display.

When you can, stand on the stage, at the front of the room, or in the designated presentation area to become familiar with the layout before a presentation of speech. You can also sit in the audience to understand the audience perspective and sight lines, and discover what naturally draws the audience’s focus.

Establish the starting point on stage where you will position your body in your ready stance. Decide how you will navigate your available space and when you will shift orientation to soften or amplify to connect to your audience in different ways.  Remember, the end goal here is for you to be in control of the stage you are on. Take advantage of being the center of attention on stage and strategically employ the tools that put you in charge of drawing or directing focus effectively.

Everyday environments mimic the various stage configurations and you can purposefully move in them along the horizontal, planar, and diagonal axis to relate to your audience. For example, standing in front of a traditional classroom mimics a proscenium stage configuration, presenting to a crowd gathered round you in the park mimics in the round. The more you think of navigating space in this way the more you lay the foundation for the use of those same tools on stage.


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