There are a number of things an effective speaker will check to reduce the number of things that may compete with them when speaking.
As a favorable appearance can be helpful, an able speaker is always clean and neat. And he never wears anything so unusual that it attracts prolonged attention from an audience. No wise speaker will invite unnecessary competition against the persuasiveness of his ideas and feelings.
This competition may come in other ways, too. Pictures, or novel items such as a stuffed deer’s head or college pennants on the wall behind a speaker may attract some listeners’ complete attention. A row of dignitaries sitting behind a speaker can be¬come a distracting element. One person may lean over and whisper to another, or even if one scratches his nose he will get some attention which he really doesn’t deserve. When a speaker can he should tactfully move people and clap-trap from behind him. The platform and everything around it should emphasize the speaker’s ideas rather than steal attention from them. At least, insofar as possible, the setting should favor the speaker’s purpose.
Physical conditions in an auditorium can definitely influence persuasion. Naturally when people are shivering they are not in a very agreeable mood. And when a room is too warm or air is stale listeners may become drowsy. Obviously persuasion doesn’t thrive in a sleepy atmosphere. Also uncomfortable chairs, chairs that are too soft, or poor lighting may make persuasion more difficult than it would be under ideal conditions.
Of course a speaker may not always be able to control these conditions but he should be constantly alert to make the entire setting as conducive as possible for persuasion.
Getting a checklist together can help you make sure conditions help you speak in public with persuasiveness and confidence.