Posts Tagged ‘Public Speaking and Volume’

Public Speaking: Seven Tips to Using a Mic

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

In many cases, if a mic is available, and you have over forty people in your audience, use the mic.

Darwin Ortiz, a world-class card shark, affirms that when performing his stunningly visual skills “it is more important to be heard than seen”.  This comment  is from a man who makes his living with a deck of cards.  I’m sure he’s performed in every type of situation, and his experience is that volume is essential.

Granted, some shy people will prefer not to be heard when speaking, but this will KILL your presentation. You will lose your audience.  It is much better to use a mic.

Here are some suggestions:

1) Nobody will focus on a talking statue.  Take the mic off the stand so you can move around.

2) Avoid crowding the mic.  Adjust the volume so that you can keep the mic at least a few inches from your mouth.

3) Ideal amplifier volume is the point at which you are speaking fully, without straining.

4) A hand-held mic has some advantages over headsets and lavalieres.  You can have the audience comment into it, you can move it a bit closer or farther from your mouth for effect.  The benefit to the headset or lavaliere is that you are hands free.  Typically, a cheaper headset will still project, but a cheaper lavaliere may have trouble picking up your voice.  Of course, the negative to a headset is that it blocks your face a bit.

5) If you are wearing or holding a mic before or after your presentation MAKE SURE TO MUTE or TURN OFF.  Embarrassing stories abound about people who forgot to mute their mics and had their private remarks broadcast to a large audience.  Do you remember this happened to former President Bush?

6) Be careful with signal.  If you’re receiver is at the other end of the room, it will work perfectly when there is no audience.  However, on your big day, the bodies of your attendees can impede the signal; so your voice will randomly cut out.  This happened to me with a quality system.  I was forced to dump the mic and naturally project to a group of 300 people.  Not effective.

7) Have a member in the back of the audience use thumbs up/thumbs down to indicate “raise the volume/lower the volume”.

There you have it in a nutshell. Seven tips to using a mic.

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Public Speaking: Low Volume = You Lose

Monday, January 12th, 2009

dreamstime_1082642In a previous post, I suggested that if you wish to assess a speaker’s effectiveness just look at the audience.  In particular where are they looking?

Recently, I attended to a Rotary Club meeting as a guest speaker.  Afterwards, one of the officers was talking up a charity event and various ways members could help.  His volume was very low.  He had a great message, but when I looked around the room, most people weren’t looking at him.  I suspect that a majority of them were probably not listening.  Of course, this very likely hindered the resulting volunteerism for the cause.

It is a mistake for us to assume that because people belong to our organization and because our cause is good, they will GIVE us their attention.  The truth is the only thing they will give us is POLITENESS.  In most cases, we can and should count on that.  However, even if we are on their team, speaking for our shared causes, we must EARN their attention.

While there are many ways to earn attention, there is one brilliant way to kill it.  Here is the simple formula: Low volume = You lose.  Does that seem harsh?  Observe for yourself.  The next time you can hardly hear the speaker look around the room.  After a few minutes of straining, most people simply give up and listen to their own thoughts about something else.  Those who NEED to hear the message will continue to strain, but they will be silently annoyed at the speaker.

I understand that sometimes people are self-conscious when they speak, but if they truly understood that their soft volume was boring or annoying their audience, I think many would choose to speak up.

Granted, speakers sometimes argue . . . “I don’t want to be TOO loud”.  That’s fair.  But keep in mind, in my experience only about 2% of speakers are too loud, compared to about 40% who speak too softly.

Finally, lowering your volume to make a special point can be very effective, because the change in volume will attract attention.  Just avoid staying there too long.

What do you think?  Have you noticed the same challenge with most speakers?  We encourage you to share.  Also, feel free to post any question about public speaking.

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