When talking in front of your own local Toastmaster group, you probably won’t have any questions about A/V setup, but when you go to an outside group it will pay to get your questions answered before you step up to speak.
Here are a few items to check ahead of time.
- Can you play music or audio?
- Do they have a way to hook up your laptop to their audio system?
- Do you have an assistant to raise or lower the volume?
- Do you need to bring your own speakers?
- Is there one and where is it positioned?
- Does it have a light? You may need one in a darkened room.
- If you are speaking to a large group you may need a podium, a raised platform, so that people in the back can see you.
- Make sure there is good lighting in the speaker’s area. I’ll have full lighting for most of the program, but may turn them down when I show the video.
- You may want to move the lectern to a spot underneath a light.
- If you are using a lot of notes, you may want to bring your own portable clip-on light.
- What sort of microphone do they have and are there any options? Wired, wireless, lavalier etc. You may want a longer cord if you want to walk out into the audience.
- I always bring my own microphone and wire in case there is a problem.
- Where is the projector located – ceiling, table etc?
- What sort of laptop is it – PC – Mac.
- Do they have PowerPoint installed?
- Can you plug your computer into their projector?
- What is the projectors resolution?
- I prefer to use my own computer as I know it works and can practice with it ahead of time.
- I try to have a table relatively close to me with my laptop facing me. That way I don’t have to turn around and look at the screen.
- I prefer to use my own remote as I know how it works and can make sure it has fresh batteries.
- If you use an unfamiliar remote, test it out ahead of time and replace the batteries if possible.
- Depending on your presentation you may want your screen either off to the side of directly in the middle. If I want the audience to pay more attention to me, I place it off to the side. If I want the audience to pay most attention to the screen, I place it directly in the middle of the room.
- Try to have the screen on a raised platform so that people in the back can see it.
- If you need any tables or other equipment, make sure you talk to the organizer ahead of time so they can have that setup for you ahead of time.
- Introduction – I always send the introduction to the Introducer ahead of time, but also have at least two extra copies at the meeting. I usually ask them to read it exactly as written, but they almost always want to improvise.
- Handouts – can be given out either ahead of time or passed out after the program. I like to use a handout for basic contact information and for note taking.
- Extension cord – I always bring an extension cord and multi-outlet jack.
- Written copy of program for backup. In a worst case scenario where all the electronics fail, it’s good to have a printed copy of your program that you can use as a reference for your speech.
- I also like to move chairs closer to me as a speaker. You can also remove chairs to encourage people to sit closer.
I prefer to get to the venue at least an hour ahead of time to make sure everything is ok and deal with any problems.