Make The Room Work For You


Always, always, arrive in plenty of time for your appearance on stage. Ideally, visit the venue in advance so that you can have a look at the room, and most importantly, get a "feel" for the position you will be working from. Go up on stage, (or to the front of the room if there is no stage) close your eyes and imagine the audience giving you a huge round of applause. This visualisation will help reduce your nervousness when your time comes.


Other things you should do in advance when you "work the room" -

  • Check your path from where you are sitting to where you will be standing (look for cables, carpet edges)
  • Rehearse your walk to the stage
  • Talk to the technician and run a sound check
  • Find out if the speaker before you is using equipment that needs to be removed or switched
  • Walk the stage and get comfortable
  • Find out how the microphone switches on and off
  • Make sure you hand your introduction to the MC
  • Ask for the stage lights to be put on, and check that you're happy with them
  • Check your call time
  • Find out who is managing the event, and how to contact them

One more thing - if you don't like the layout of the room, ask if you can change it. For example, I hate to speak in a hall with an aisle down the centre. If the chairs are moveable, I always ask for the aisle to be closed. On every occasion but one (when the manager was paranoid about evacuating in case of fire), the venue were happy to help. So just ask.

Media Tip of the Week



If you're a regular reader of this electronic billet-doux, you will see a weekly award for the most inept media performance of the week. Naturally, I keep a record of what goes wrong, and the criteria that are ignored most often. So here are ten things that you should never do when faced with a reporter.

  1. Stay silent. This will just make you look ridiculous on the TV news. Refusing to say anything says a lot.
  2. Become aggressive. An easy way to lose sympathy for your case is to shout and wag your finger.
  3. Hide. Don't duck behind your desk, especially if the cameras saw you go in to your office.
  4. Blame the media. Whenever I see this line taken, I see a reputation in decline.
  5. Run away. This also makes great TV. Stand your ground.
  6. Profess ignorance. If you know something, say so. You may have a reason you can't speak about it, but never claim to be ignorant if you aren't.
  7. Belittle the problem. It may be "not many affected", but for the victims, it's serious.
  8. Speculate without the facts. The truth will emerge. If you guessed wrongly, you're in trouble.
  9. Make no apology. Saying sorry is not a sign of weakness, or an admission of liability
  10. Lie. This will never do, and you will be found out.

Instead, the simple rule is to be honest, helpful and focused. Stevens




Alan Stevens Alan is Director of MediaCoach and has been both a TV presenter and expert interviewee. He now acts as coach for people who have had no previous media training.

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