"Nobody ever complained before." WHAT?

Of course you can't see his face!

Of course you can't see his face!

I am too often surprised when I see a setup like this. 

Why do meeting planners put up with bad decisions from venues? Certainly everyone in this meeting knows they can't see the face of the presenter, the props or award winners brought to stage.

Subscribe and contribute to this blog to add current content from your experiences. Also Facebook #AudienceAdvocate.

Here are some previous entries. Share with co-workers, meeting planners and your AV supplier.

Give Dramamine to your audience?

Give Dramamine to your audience?

Of course you can move about, but avoid predictable, repetitive motion, or you’ll lose your audience every time. Those watching video IMAG of you will be distracted by the graphics passing back-and-forth behind your head.

Sundar Pichai - Brilliant man but needs coaching for live video

Pacing back and forth (up to six steps each way) with a background moving makes the audience seasick and uses energy that should be used with the message.  

Not a good image for the world's largest company leader to pace like a caged lion. Simple skills.

When you have live image magnification (IMAG) or live streaming video, you need to be aware of the video production as well as the live elements. 

You are on the huge live IMAG screens for 80% of the audience to watch. 

The video director will keep you in the center of the frame. But if you pace back and forth, the audience sees you centered but the background continues to move. 

And if your movements are pacing back and forth, you make us all sick. 

Stand in one place, feet apart like you are returning a tennis ball, swivel at your hips and exude energy to the entire room. Moving 6 feet either way does nothing to improve you connection with the audience. In fact, standing in one place, with energy, gives your audience a focus.

The A2 who put the mic on Sundar also put it so close to his beard the noise is also distracting. 

All who read this blog know I am the "Audience Advocate." The person for hire to monitor all the production planning and execution to enhance the audience experience, not make them turn away.

The book "On-The-Job Speech Training" covers this and many other techniques to improve your audience appeal.


Pass this along to your CEO so he or she can benefit from the Audience Advocate.

Please click on the link below and subscribe via email. 

Just because “stuff works” does not qualify for a successful meeting.

I volunteer to a number of professional associations principally to help raise the bar with their presentations.

I take my role as Audience Advocate seriously.

Many meetings simply order equipment from an AV supplier letting them put the gear where it is convenient for them. They will often choose close to the power plug, on an existing stage, with a bright window near the screen.

The result - the audience can’t see the video or graphics, see or hear the presenter, feel comfortable in the surroundings.

The same issue happens when a venue, often offered free for the exposure to an MPI chapter, has its tech person set up a meeting as he or she would for the nightclub venue every evening.

Nightclubs would like to expand their revenue by using their venues during the day for small business or association meetings. Typically, they sell by convincing the meeting planner they have sufficient seating, a built-in stage, a sound system, and maybe even a video screen.

Photo courtesy of Creative Focus, Inc. Parkland, FL

Photo courtesy of Creative Focus, Inc. Parkland, FL

A recent venue in Fort Lauderdale had a great sound system for the dance floor but since our meeting expanded under a balcony 20 people seated comfortably there were not able to hear or see the presenter.

Not only were there no speakers under the balcony but there were auxiliary fans running noisily over their heads. The venue HVAC air handler noise is never an issue with powerful DJ music playing in the evening, but caused additional issues for the audience to hear.

The only seating for those under the balcony were low couches. These folks didn't have a good experience.

The built-in stage was set up with a lectern, or beer barrel, set where the band usually plays. There is no issue with the band stage being 5 feet off the ground. But it creates an uncomfortable perch for the presenter in an intimate meeting.

Compound that with rickety, narrow steps to the stage and you have issues for presenters and award winners coming and going to the stage.

While, the venue wants to sell their daytime space, meeting planners should be more aware of these issues before booking any meeting space, especially a unique venue.

I love unique venues from aircraft hangars and aircraft carriers to Carnegie Hall and hotel atriums. They all have unique offerings to the right event.

Every venue should be analyzed from an audience perspective.

Can I see?

Can I hear?

Will I be comfortable?

Will this be a good experience?

Just because the “stuff works” when delivered by an audiovisual technician it often isn’t sufficient to meet the needs of an important meeting. Resist the venue sales person comment “Everyone loves this space, just this way.”

This one was especially uncomfortable because it was a Meeting Professional International event. We should not accept unacceptable venues regardless of cost.

You can’t blame the AV technician or the in-house tech. They haven’t been trained to do anything more than deliver the stuff.

Have an Audience Advocate on your team. Then the stuff will work, you will have backups and the audience will get the full benefit of the event.