I visited the room one afternoon couple of days prior to my presentation. They had a podium up front, and I was told they had a cable to connect to my laptop to the video projector. The room was dark enough with the blinds closed to allow for a nice image using their projector. There were several tables around the room for seating and small group work. There was a very large projection screen on the front wall and a wireless microphone for the presenter.
My presentation was the start of a full day workshop on a Saturday morning. The teachers were compensated as part of a grant to attend the sessions. They were also motivated to incorporate what I was presenting into their lesson plans. Thus, the audience was interested, and the room was more than adequate for my presentation needs.
I arrived plenty early on Saturday morning to setup my equipment. First, there was no way to hook my computer to their projector. That meant I had a computer off to the right of the podium and keyboard on the podium to advance my slides. Fortunately, I had a paper copy of the slides and could use them for reference.
Next, the sun came up and beamed through the windows and miniblinds. In addition, the light blinded me! The heat of the sun caused the air conditioner to start a couple of minutes prior to my presentation. A new problem, the air conditioner vents were directly behind the project screen. Throughout my presentation, the screen swayed from the fan causing some folks to get seasick!
However, I perservered and started. As with most presentations, people arrive late. They entered the door behind the podium, as it was the most convenient entrance. They had to negotiate around me and the computer causing me to take pause and grab the keyboard.
What looked like a nice presentation room from my initial visit, turned into a disaster. The room was only a year old, but had several design flaws. First, placing the heating/AC vents behind the screen was a mistake. You cannot have a large group in a room without ventilation. The wall at the back of the room was blank and sheltered from the sunlight. It would have made more sense to place the screen on the backwall. Second, the door at the back was simply an exit to the back of the building. The two doors at the other end were the main entrances, which were distracting to the presenter and everyone in the room. By moving the screen to the back, the "entrances" would be more functional. Third, the wiring for the computer access blocked the one entrance causing late arrives to have to step over wires and equipment and again disrupting the presentation.
There was very little
I could do to improve the room at the last minute. If I had anticipated
the late arrivals and sunlight, I could have requested a large portable
screen and video projector. I could then have made my presentation in the
back of the room and avoided many of the problems.