I recommend all presenters check out the room a few days before you present. This gives you a feel for things like echoes, room configuration, where you will be, and if you need to adapt your strategy.
I have been working with this client on several presentations that have all come up at the same time. The first presentation was booked 3 months prior for a group of 70-90 people in a breakout room – no worries, right? Based on my recommendation, he checked out the venue a few days before his presentation to figure out exactly where he was going and what the room looked like to make final preparations. First, he went to the wrong hotel (Marriott vs. the JW Marriott across the street), upon finding the correct hotel and location inside the hotel, the room was three times larger than described. The room had a stage with two large screens flanking it, basically no visual aid in his peripheral view to use as a reference. The hotel had their house equipment set up and so the presenter was not able to use his own computer and remote, another change of plans. A million things seemed different than originally thought, calling for a huge adjustment to the game plan.
We talked it over and instead of standing still, he now had to move around to engage the entire audience, but be careful not to pace. He had to adapt to using a lavaliere microphone, and look at a reference screen below the stage – all things he has never done came up all at once. Had the presenter walked into that situation without prior knowledge, the presentation probably would have suffered because the presenter would be scrambling to get a grip on whats going on and concentrating on the changes instead of mentally preparing for the presentation.
Save yourself some stress and check out the room before so you can make adaptations to your plan. If you’re traveling to a conference, try to check in early and get a feel for things, even if only a few hours beforehand. If it is a room you’ve presented in several times, check to make sure its is set up the same so you can maintain the comfortable feel. If you are unable to visit the room in person, have your contact send you some pictures of the room and/or a floor plan, so at least you are not surprised when you walk in.
Even the most skilled presenters can get spooked by a last minute change so use your preparation time to relax and focus your energies on the presentation, not the changes.