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Westside Toastmasters is located in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California

Chapter 18: Stage Managing: Staying One Step Ahead of Murphy's Law

Overview

If anything can go wrong, it will, and at the worst possible moment.

—Murphy's Law

It's difficult enough to give a speech; on top of this you must be your own stage manager. Even if you have someone helping you out, you're the one who's ultimately in charge of your speaking situation: how the stage is set up, what equipment you might need, what props you use and where they're placed, etc.

Stage managing is speech insurance: You may not feel you need it, and you may be right; many speeches go smoothly, and all the unseen details fall into place. But that takes extraordinary luck, and any professional speaker knows not to rely on luck.

A prepared speaker controls the speaking environment; he or she manages the setting and the room as if it were an extension of the speech itself. And it is. Speakers depend on their environment to get their points across; if audiences are uncomfortable because the room is stifling, or if there aren't enough seats, the words may be brilliant, but the audience will be counting the minutes until departure time. Do your best to control the environment, and you will control how your audience will receive the words you've worked so hard to shape. Proper stage managing can take the place of a certain amount of talent or confidence. This chapter will touch on everything you should see to before approaching the podium.


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