Thursday, June 09, 2005

Public Speaking Tip: Distractions - Doors

One of the biggest sources of distraction has to do withsomething every meeting room has and that is a door. Doorssqueak, they slam shut, and they allow people to walk in theaudience's line of sight. According to Tom's Law ofPresentations, these three things are only allowed to happenat the exact moment of your best punch line or most dramaticstatement.

Doors are very easy to deal with if you can gain access tothe room early. The first thing I do is check to see if thedoors squeak. If they do, I call maintenance or find alittle oil can and oil the hinges. If it's an old hotel,this probably hasn't been done in 30 or 40 years. Then I letthe door swing shut on its own. This tests the closingmechanism. If it is hopelessly weak and allows the door toslam shut, I either ask for it to be adjusted (which no oneever knows how to do) or I have someone stand at the door toopen and close it for latecomers. The latch of the door canmake lots of noise to, so you simply tape the catchmechanism shut.

Door location can also be a pesky problem. Sometimes theroom is set so there is a door behind or very close to thestage area. If someone would enter this door during yourpresentation, it would be very distracting.

You can usually tape up a "Please Use Other Door" sign tohelp with this. When you know you have any kind of doorproblem, try to alert the planner or recruit people from theorganization to police the doors for you.

Excerpt from the "Wake 'em Up Professional Speaking System"

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