Archive for January 7th, 2009

To Enjoy Your Speaker – You Have To HEAR Your Speaker

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

A public address system and keyboard travel with me to virtually every job. At those venues where my musical equipment isn’t needed, I’m very happy not to have to drag hundreds of pounds of gear inside. But where I go – it goes.

My best guess is that most professional speakers don’t have a business card reading, “Have P.A., Will Travel.” Likewise, the chosen venue for your next event may offer limited access to sound reinforcement. So, assuming you want to hear what they have to say, what can you do to ensure that your program presenters’ words will carry throughout the room?

1. Put your presenter at the 50-yard line, not in the end zone. By placing your podium at the mid-point of the room, instead of at one end, you automatically (in most cases) bring the majority of the audience closer to the sound source. Less amplification is needed.

2. Check that all equipment works, prior to starting your program. At one gathering where I spoke last month, the podium itself had a small built-in speaker which should have been adequate for the room. But the service organization who were my hosts had draped a small banner of the front of the podium, rendering the speaker totally useless. All too often, other similar podium/speaker sets aren’t plugged in – again offering the presenter no assistance.

3. Quiet the room, before beginning. A presenter with a strong voice can usually be heard, even with no PA system at all – if the room is quiet. The difficulty is to get everyone to settle in and hush up. I recommend placing a few “shushers” at strategic points around the room, so that – as you prepare to open the program – a chorus of “Shhh” from throughout the room will bring a halt to the racket.

Presenters go to quite a bit of effort to conceive, write, memorize, and perfect their programs. With a much smaller amount of time and energy on your part, you can keep all their hard work from going to waste.