Preparation

Preparation - in a strict sense - is the result of confronting oneself with the forthcoming exposure to a dynamic in which there is hardly any going back and limited room for manoeuvre. Given the ample opportunities to use notes, very few presenters these days attempt to memorise what they wish to say. The focus is thus on means of self-monitoring and confidence-boosting (rehearsals given to close confidants, video recordings, coaching). During this phase, lessons can be learnt about paraverbal aspects, such as voice, intonation and rhythm, and body language, problems in the dramatic structure identified and linguistic expression improved.

Thus preparation here involves making available everything needed for the presentation’s practical implementation (media, aids, documents to be handed out, etc.), as well as testing equipment on site. It also means working out a plan B - perhaps even a plan C - to cope with problems, usually technical in nature. (On these, see the typology of such potential mishaps - glitches in the set-up, malfunctions, inconsistencies with the overall style of the event, or complete disasters - and ways of coping with them offered by Schnettler and Tuma (2007:171-177).) Possible precautionary measures include designing handouts with such eventualities in mind or saving slides in a universal format such as PDF.

 
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