I’d never heard of Platform Mechanics until I first joined the National Speakers Association (NSA) about 20 years ago. Then it was still one of eight professional competencies speakers were expected to master. Today it seems that the term has largely been replaced by Stagecraft which I find a bit confusing. Stagecraft comes from the theatre and is really about working the stage. It’s a competency I first learned when I studied acting at college as a teenager.
Platform Mechanics is more specific and encompasses everything about a speech or presentation except the content and presentation skills. In particular all the Audio Visual, the stage setup and the meeting environment. But it also goes beyond that to include your relationship with all the other people responsible for making the event a success. It also includes all the little things which, if not right, can distract the audience from enjoying your presentation.
A few months ago I was asked to record a short video about the topic for a new PSA Learning hub. I hope that hub will be available t0 members soon. However as this is a topic seldom discussed, I have decided to also make it available here on my blog. And I’m going to be adding further short videos in the future.
With nearly 40 years experience as both a speaker and a meeting planner, one thing I have learned from bitter experience is that poor platform mechanics can wreck an otherwise great presentation. In this video you will learn how to reduce the risks of problems and enhance your presentation with good Platform Mechanics.
We’re going to look at creating a good introduction and working with meeting planners and AV teams. We’ll explore making the most of the stage, room layout, microphones, lighting and slides and the importance of timing. It’s a huge subject, but I hope that this 20 minute introduction will enable you to avoid some of the more common mistakes and present yourself as a speaking professional.
If you have any questions or comments after watching the video – please comment below or in the YouTube comments – I will respond.