I Know You Don’t Want To Think About It Right Now, But There Are Amenities and Protocols to Consider BEFORE Creating Content
Amenities and Protocols?!! What?!! Why?!! (I hear you stomping your foot and see you pouting.)
No Fair Complaining About This Training Advice
If you have read the first 2 blogs in this series, I hear you saying, “When are we going to get to creating the primary contents of the speech or training class? I don’t care about amenities and protocols at this point!”
You probably think you should write the speech or develop the training session now and worry about these other details later! I used to think the same thing. That was before I started doing a lot of teaching and public speaking. It’s called “learning the hard way.”
A presentation – and its success or lack of it – is not only about what you or I want to say or convey. It’s about what affects the ability and willingness of the audience or students to receive the most important aspects of our presentations.
So, don’t be grumpy. I list some of these items in the chart provided in the second article of this training series. As an elaboration, here are a few more in-depth suggestions and additional factors to consider.
Consider this: if you have been allotted 20 minutes for a presentation, but it turns out protocol demands you spend 5 minutes introducing VIPs who showed up in the audience, you’re starting out on the wrong foot and creating tensions for yourself by not having thought of that and planned for it from the git-go. Now, you have to cut out parts of your speech “on the fly” if you plan to honor the time commitment you made to whoever hired you.
Because this is a detailed topic, we’ll talk more about VIP intros below. For further consideration, we’ll discuss introducing participants in Training Series #4 as it relates to timing your presentations.
Similarly, if you have a lengthy, multiple-part presentation after lunch, you might need to schedule time for a 3-5 minute break.
It’s also possible that you need to have accommodations for people with disabilities. Make those arrangements well in advance, rather than trying to figure them out right before or during your presentations.
AND, if you’re going to have breakout sessions that require people move to other rooms and back, you need a plan that allows a realistic amount of time for people to come and go – knowing they don’t feel the same sense of urgency you do to be on time. Think about asking for or assigning “marshals” to help you get people back and forth.
The same issues exist with coffee and meal breaks, as we all know.
Things like the setting, temperature, nature of the audience, etc. all affect how you present material. Whenever possible, anticipate or know those variables in advance as they will affect your presentation and the audience’s attention to what you’re conveying. All you have to do to understand the importance of this is to remember one time you were in a class or a speech, and the room was so hot you could not stay awake – even if you were in the front row with the teacher/speaker looking right at you!
Amenities and Protocols To Consider In Advance Of Conducting Training Include:
Using Your Booking as a Marketing Opportunity
- Find out who will introduce you and provide whatever biographical information is needed. Do this early, because they may be planning or creating ads and marketing materials about your presentation, which could improve attendance. It might even result in other organizations booking you to conduct their training programs.
- Consider composing an introduction for the Master of Ceremonies or whoever will introduce you. The person may change it; but, at least, you will have indicated the areas on which you would like them to focus.
- Consider supplying your picture to whoever is greeting and/or introducing you (whether at an airport, or in the meeting room). If they don’t already know what you look like, this will decrease their anxiety and yours in the logistics of executing the plan on the Big Day.
Note: Conducting Product and Services Sales On-Site Is Covered in Training Series #4
Might You Have to Introduce VIPs to the Audience?
- Who are they?
- Who is going to identify them, or are you supposed to figure it out right before your presentation?
- What is the protocol for the order in which you introduce them?
- Get that info in advance, if possible, and find the designated point person at the event who will tell you about last-minute additions or changes.
- Is there a story, anecdote, turn of phrase, or a specific point that you would make (or be sure not to state) if a certain VIP were in the audience? (See? I told you that there are reasons for considering these things before you compose your speech, class, etc.! ♥)
- Do YOU need to make travel, seating, or other arrangements for a VIP guest? If so, you need to plan ahead, so that those details have been handled and the situation is under control well before you take the podium for your presentation.
- For example, members of a County Board of Supervisors often show up at all kinds of local events without warning, yet they expect to be publicly acknowledged by name and District at the beginning of an event. They think the leaders of any event know who they are, even if they’ve never met. (In my experience, they may not BE famous, but they THINK they’re famous – or should be.)
- Another example might be upper management, who will “make an appearance” and leave quickly. They will be judging you quickly (and forever?) by what happens during those short moments.
Amenities and Protocols | Will There Be Food And / Or Drinks?
Each of these pictures depicts an entirely different situation in terms of time, cost, preparation, and set up.
- Who’s going to fix it?
- Who’s going to serve it?
- Will there be people with special needs or vegan tastes to accommodate?
- Do you need a stove or oven? A large coffeemaker? Warming trays? Dishes? Paper goods? Utensils?
- Are you (or your venue) going to have the refreshments or meals catered? Do you have a process for vetting vendors, and do you have good contracts for your and their protection?
- What are the Health Department regulations that govern your business or the venue you’re using?
- Where will the food or drinks be available (since people may gravitate there)?
- Is it placed to your advantage?
- Do the foods or beverages need refrigeration?
- Who’s going to clean up after your presentation?
- Will the noise of foodservice be so loud that you need to speak after people are seated?
- How are you going to get people back in their seats on time for the next part of the program?
Amenities and Protocols | Deciding What To Wear:
- Do you need to take eyewear – either for reading or for shielding from the sun or bright lights?
- Maybe it’s a hot and humid summer day, but the venue air conditioning will turn you into a popsicle if you don’t bring a jacket.
- Think about whether it is an indoor or an outdoor environment and the weather forecast. Do you have a rain date and proper clothes/equipment?
- Consider your audience. Make them comfortable, unless your intent is to intimidate.
- Factor in how what you wear might affect your presentation. For example,
- If I am in a short skirt and high heels, I may be less inclined to demonstrate a Downward Dog Yoga position than if I were wearing a pantsuit. That sounded corny; but, if you are a woman on a stage in front of an audience, you probably do not want people viewing your underwear.
- Do you want to appear “professional” as an expert, or will your presentation be more effective if you are “casual” and “approachable?”
Next Up: the Preparation Phase for Creating Training Content
For that enlightenment, go to the next blog, “Training Series – #4….” which I’ll post along with this one or in May/June, 2021. Smart Aleck!
Thanks for sticking with me through all this detail. It is a training program in itself. Thus, I share step-by-step instructions. Of course, if you don’t want to be bothered with thinking about all this, you may hire me to do it for you! Chirp! Chirp!
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I hope you found the discussion of amenities and protocols of interest, and I’d be happy to answer any questions. Email me at MyPersuasivePresentations@gmail.com, and please put “Training Amenities and Protocols” into the subject line. Thank you and best wishes for success in your event!