For most people speaking in public is a scary prospect. At best it can give you the butterflies, and at worst it can paralyze you. This stress can be multiplied when you are expected to speak in a venue that is unfamiliar. This sort of venue is one at which you are speaking whether it is the location or the audience with which you are not familiar. This is not a personal or professional death sentence; there are strategies that you can use to deal with this type of situation. So, just breathe and read on.
Preparation is one of the best tools that you can have in your arsenal to combat the issues that you might encounter with this type of situation. Doing your homework is a great place to start. It is important to know your subject inside and out. This being said, research is essential even if you know your topic pretty well. You could always know it a little better.
As for the venue, a bit of preparation is also called for. Use the internet, books, magazines and libraries to get the history and any recent news about the location where you will be speaking. When it comes to the individuals and groups, research is also great. Information on demographic, average education and focus of the group’s relationship are important to know.
Take a Tour
Being familiar with the building and surrounding areas of the location of your venue is also helpful to calming nerves and getting you prepared for your presentation. There are several ways that this can be done. First, take a physical tour of the facility if this available. To do this, contact the location and schedule a tour with one of their personnel. Some larger venues have virtual tour that you can also access on the internet.
Touring and asking questions about the technical and equipment availability and use can help you know what types of equipment you will need to prepare yourself to use. This also allows you to learn or freshen up your skills with the particular equipment and programs you will be using. This helps to reduce stress and hesitation during the presentation itself.
Of course, depending on your status and the security, rules and regulations of the venue you are concerned with you may or may not be able to take a physical tour. However it never hurts to ask and asking questions about the venue is usually a safe bet.
The Day Before
All of the steps above happen in a rough sequence but the day before the event it is a good idea to do a dry run if at all possible. Go through the motions of working with the equipment, pre-sound checks and familiarizing yourself with the staff.
Taking time to take care of yourself is also very important. A good night sleep, proper food, and hydration are all an essential part of being at your best and reducing stress and other possible problems.
Until it becomes more familiar for you, any engagement can be stressful, so taking a few extra steps to be better prepared is a real boon to any public speaker. Remember to prepare, breath and stay calm, and your new venue will become more familiar and less stressful in no time.
If you have any questions about public speaking please feel free to contact me.