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Last Wednesday I went to what is called “Enrichment Night” at Entrada, a club I belong to.  As the presentation began, the wireless microphone that was used to project the presenter’s voice stopped working.  The presenter continued without the microphone.  A few minutes later, a new working microphone appeared. The presenter not wanting to be bothered with the wireless microphone asked the participants if they could hear her okay. Obviously, the answer was “yes”.  She continued the hour long presentation.
I then noticed the body language of the participants as well as my own.  People were sitting forward and straining to hear what was being said.  I noticed that I was able to hear only about 85% of what was being said. The female voice is somewhat more difficult to hear than that of the human male species.
The presenter did an excellent job of preparing for the presentation and delivering the presentation. The on screen presentation was particularly effective and material was relevant to the audience. But, because of the simple choice of not using the wireless microphone, the audience lost part of presentation.
There is a lesson here:  We all need to be aware of when our audience cannot fully understand or hear our presentations.  Sometimes it’s just simply using the technology that’s available (like a wireless microphone or an assistive listening device).  Beyond technology here are some simple things that can be done minimize this issue:
  1. Be aware!  If your audience can’t fully hear you, you message (no matter how well presented) will not full resonate).
  2. Turn off or move away from noise sources.  If there’s a noisy air conditioner, turn it off or move away from it.
  3. Change the seating so people can get closer (this has other benefits as well).
  4. Talk louder, enunciate your words, talk slower.
  1. Invest in high quality technology such as a sound system and assistive listening products.  Don’t skimp on quality.  With substandard system, you guests will suffer every time the system is used and the effectiveness of presentations will forever be minimized.
  2. Develop a system to maintain the technology to make sure it is available when needed.  In the example above, the wireless microphone did not work but club had a back up microphone ready to go.
  3. Pay attention to room acoustics and noise compromises participants ability to understand.
  4. Strategically place participants in rooms to maximize their ability to hear the presentation.
  5. Build a culture in your organization to use the technology and to follow the individual recommendations above.  Strongly encourage presenters to use a wireless microphone by explaining the benefits.
Thanks for listening
Three separate ListenTALK receivers in a row with different group names on each display screen.
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