Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Downshifting a Presentation

At the last minute, due to an administrative snafu beyond the speaker's control, the audience is reduced by three-fourths.

The speaker has to adjust. A smaller group has a different chemistry than a larger one. People behave differently and they feel more conspicuous.

What needs to be done?

The speaker should consider the following:
  1. Strive for a more conversational tone. The general atmosphere will be more intimate and so should the presentation. You should not sound as if you are in a large ballroom when
  2. Reduce the amount of time normally accorded to any small group discussions. Since they feel under the spotlight, participants may clam up. Be prepared to draw them out in informal discussions with the entire group.
  3. Slightly increase the pace of the program but don't go too fast. You want to hit Exciting, which can exist in the land between Plodding and Nervous.
  4. Reduce the number of slides or abandon them entirely. Slides can be a barrier between you and a small audience.
  5. Give one short break per hour. Make it a nine minute break or an eleven minute one. People tend to remember and respect odd numbered breaks.

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