by Allison Pollard
What should I do the day of the event?
Learning what to do on the day of the event came from experiences that went less-than-perfectly for us or friends of ours.
Let’s start with the good advice that we should follow all of the time and especially when we have a big event: get plenty of rest the night before and eat healthy throughout the day. We know that’s easier said than done. Some of us hang out in a quiet space the hour before our talk to clear our minds and review our materials. At meals, beware of food and beverages that might cause you to burp. Enjoy a snack if you’re presenting right before lunch so you’re not starving mid-way through. Make sure there’s no food stuck between your teeth before your session.
Drink lots of water before and during your presentation. However, do not touch the water in the first five minutes. This is when you’re most likely to be nervous, and if you are shaking, the water is going to spill everywhere. We don’t want you to spill water on yourself because it’ll be obvious to the audience and make you even more nervous. Since you’ll be drinking lots of water leading up to your talk, you’ll want to use the restroom just before your session. We recommend doing this before you put on a lapel microphone. If you are already miked and need to use the restroom, verify that it is turned off.
We love introducing a connection activity at the start of a presentation to engage attendees and take the focus off of us. Thank you to Tricia Broderick for sharing this tip — http://www.leadtotheedge.com/speaking-tip-first-few-minutes/
Deciding what to wear can be tricky. If you choose to buy new clothes, wear them a few times before the event to make sure you’re comfortable in them. You’ll want to discover in advance if tailoring is needed, a camisole would be prudent, or if your bra straps need adjusting. We also recommend selecting comfortable shoes since you’ll likely be walking and standing in front of the audience.
Lapel microphones are typically clipped onto your shirt, and the attached transmitter pack is clipped at your waist, then separates work best, but a dress with pockets or a belt can work too. You’ll want the microphone close to your mouth, so be mindful of your shirt’s neckline. Button-up shirts work well; low cut tops can be challenging. A silk blouse or a thin sweater may fold under the weight of the microphone, so opt for a heavier fabric that will maintain its structure when the microphone is clipped on and won’t buckle if you move during the course of your performance. Avoid wearing a statement necklace that might interfere with the microphone.
Lastly, be flexible. Murphy’s Law implies that something will go wrong. And that’s OK. Take a deep breath and focus on the audience you’re serving with your talk. They’re rooting for you to succeed and may be more willing to co-design with you in the moment than you think. Some of the best learning comes from happy mistakes, for you and for them.