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This was originally posted on March 1 on the InfoComm All Voices Blog >>>

I attended two networking events where there were more than 100 professionals gathered to make contacts and hear a presentation. For each presentation, the rooms were set up classroom style. This first event was a Business Networking International event, and it was standing room only. To kick off the meeting, the chairman made a brief introduction from the front of the room to welcome attendees. Then she asked the participants to stand up, introduce themselves and share with the group how much business they’ve gained through involvement with BNI.

While it was fun and interesting, it was impossible to hear each person because there was no audio system. Introductions went on for more than 30 minutes, and as I sat in my seat straining to understand, all I could think is, “Why is audio often an after thought?” I know I wasn’t the only person in the room frustrated that I couldn’t hear. But I may have been the only person that asked “why?” And more importantly, why did organizers think it was okay to overlook audio?
Of course, this meeting wasn’t unique. In fact it’s a far too common occurrence. So sad, too, because 100 professionals couldn’t hear the message and missed out on much of what they came for. Yet I’ll bet dimes to donuts that few gave it a second thought. Why is that? Far too often, audio isn’t on the radar for such meetings. And all it takes is thinking about how the participants’ experience might improve if only they could hear the content.
The same week, I went to a Women’s Tech Council of Utah presentation on how LinkedIn can grow your business. It was the same situation — not an empty chair in the room, everyone there to glean a nugget of content on how to grow their businesses over their lunch hour.
Again, the meeting gets started; introductions begin, and there’s no audio system to reinforce the content and message. I couldn’t believe I was going to sit through another meeting, only picking up bits and pieces because I simply couldn’t hear. Fortunately, when the main speaker was introduced, I was happy to hear him — really hear him — because he was wearing a wireless microphone. Phew!
Not surprisingly, I got a lot out of this second meeting and (event organizers take note!)  I even ordered the presenter’s two DVDs. It’s a shame that his introduction, which included the meeting’s sponsors, wasn’t picked up by all. Money not well spent.
So why do we tolerate poor audio? And why do we attend meetings where we hear only part of the content? Why do we sponsor events where our name and message aren’t going to be heard, let alone remembered, by those who attend?
I’ve committed to checking  whether organizers have a sound system prior to sending RSVPs for future meetings. I may still attend, but at least meeting organizers may put thought into their audio.
What will you do to make sure you can hear and be heard?
Three separate ListenTALK receivers in a row with different group names on each display screen.
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