Enjoy this guest post by Tom Antion
Round and Round She Goes
by Tom Antion
I recently spoke at a seminar where the hotel representative had talked the meeting planner into using round tables for the room setup. I later found out that the hotel had run out of classroom tables and told the inexperienced planner that round tables are better.
When I saw the set up I was horrified. That's because I know that people are spread out further from the presenter and also, you have the problem of half the chairs facing away from the stage area.
Unless you are doing a banquet/luncheon/breakfast, or unless you are conducting a workshop where the attendees are interacting more than you are talking, this is the "kiss of death" seating method.
Unfortunately I didn't learn this until I had done 1500 presentations. After I did learn to seat people as close together as possible and as close to the presenter as possible I found that the same humor I had been using for years got a three times bigger response. Also, I would notice more head shaking in agreement with my points and a much larger overall excitement level in the room.
I'm certain the hotel person was just trying to cover up for not having enough tables and I'm also certain the hotel person had never held a microphone in his hand. No one will ever blame the room setup crew if you bomb. As the presenter you must take care of every logistical detail in your control to make sure you hit a home run every time you speak.
Since there were no more tables and I was stuck with the rounds, the first words out of my mouth were, "everyone who is facing the wrong direction go ahead and stand up and turn your chairs around. I want to make sure you are comfortable."
Tom Antion is a professional speaker and entertainer with over 2700 paid speeches to his credit. You can check out his award winning public speaking site http://www.Public-Speaking.org where you'll find 120 articles on professional level, yet easy to implement, speaking techniques and his speaking blog at http://GreatPublicSpeaking.blogspot.com