Through the Presenters' Eyes

What's it really like? Standing on a stage, with a lectern, projection screen behind, a preview monitor on the floor showing your slides, another showing live tweeted questions from the audience and a third with a timer (which turns red when you overrun). You have a live audience and a live stream web audience which probably includes the team back in the office. It's scary.

You hear your introduction, step onto the stage (happy not to have tripped on the way) and arrive behind the lectern. You've rehearsed your opening words over and over so that you start to speak without having to think. At this point your mind is a blur and you blindly perform the rehearsed actions, click to next slide, step away from the lectern, say the words, say the words, keep talking.

Then something strange happens. You settle into the speaking. You have reviewed and reviewed your slides and what you plan to say (but not written what you want to say onto the slides), so the presentation flows and you start to feel almost like it's an out of body experience. You mentally start to critique your own delivery, you start to see individuals in the audience and observe their facial expressions (was that a yawn?), you are conscience of your own mannerisms and the way you are standing. The mental capacity you have is astonishing. You are able to read the questions arriving live via twitter and contemplate the answer, have awareness of the camera, catch a nod of approval from a fellow presenter, see your next slide preview and consider your link and when to change slide, glance at the timer and compute what the time means for you. Still you are talking. You are even adjusting what you say based on the visual feedback from the audience and the tweets.

Alan Wight on the Fresh stage in Barcelona

The Fresh conference set was projection mapped to enable content to spread beyond the screen

Then you notice that your mouth is dry. There is a video clip to play in a minute, there is a bottle of water on the lectern and you can have a sip then, that's all it takes.

Before you know it, 20 minutes have passed, no one has walked out, you have completed your presentation successfully..

Despite feeling very nervous, you feel confident because you are supported by professionals. The technicians have helped to make sure that your presenting is working, you have a backup in case there is a problem, they have fitting your microphone and made sure you are comfortable, the production team reassure you and give you confident direction - being surrounded by professionals with professional equipment is like presenting surrounded by a comfort blanket.

Cascade MD, Alan Wight, presented in the Fresh education sessions at the EIBTM expo in Barcelona alongside CEOs from companies in the US, Denmark and Belgium. The technical crew were from Abbit Meeting Support in Belgium supported by local sound and lighting crew from Spain.

Alan Wight