Beautiful summer weather can make it tempting to hold your next press conference outdoors. What's not to like? Fresh air, maybe a cool breeze, plenty of room.
Not so fast. There are lots of gotchas when it comes to outside press conferences. The biggest one is the lack of control when it comes to outdoor conditions. Aside from the possibility of getting rained out (do you have a contingency location?), the outdoor press conference can cause a variety of issues.
Chief among the potential problems is the wind. A strong breeze can cause havoc with your script, even if it's in a binder. Even if you're able to maintain control of the pages, the distraction can throw you off and cause you to lose your focus.
The wind can also do a number on your hair. Men are just as vulnerable as women. The problem is not simply your wind-blown appearance. It's a huge distraction to deal with at such an important time.
A third problem with the wind is the noise it produces in microphones. Even with wind screens, your mic is bound to pick up some wind noise, and that can ruin an important sound bite.
Another concern with an outdoor event is the sun. If you're fortunate to have a bright, sunny day, you want to make sure your speakers are not looking directly into the sunlight. They may be forced to squint, and that could affect their ability to read their prepared remarks. Again, it's annoying, if nothing else.
Best to check out the location a day or two before the event, but at the same time of day to see what impact the sun or shadows might have. It will help you decide where to position the podium and cameras.
Lastly, there may be things that are simply beyond your control at an outdoor press conference. If the event is staged near a busy street, traffic noise might spell trouble. Or, there could be noise from a nearby facility.
There are times when you have no choice but to hold a press event outside. A ribbon cutting or ground breaking are two prime examples. But you should always think ahead to the pitfalls outdoor events can present and do what you can to prepare for them.
Mack Communications | Twitter: @mack_comm