Friday, June 10, 2011

Public Speaking - I Can't Heeeeere You!

Although this may seem obvious, make sure the audience can clearly hear every word you say. Most jokes and stories depend on key words. If you slur a word, the audience may miss the whole idea of the story (remember you need a good sound system too). Besides enunciating clearly, you must use the microphone properly. Hand held microphones must stay with you when you turn your head from side to side and must be directed toward the mouth of anyone you are conversing with during the presentation.

Larry Wilde, the author of more than 50 humor books, tells the story of the time he was auditioning to take over the television show Let's Make a Deal when Monte Hall retired. In the opening of the show he was supposed to engage in small talk with an audience member. He went up to someone in the first row and said, "Hi! What's your name?" Although the audience member answered him, there was dead silence in the sound booth. The sound men were actually
laughing at Larry because he neglected to hold the microphone near the mouth of the audience member for the response. You might think this is common sense, but try it out and you will see that it is not as easy as it looks. It takes practice to do it smoothly.

If you are at a lectern, you should know how far your lips need to be from the microphone. Hopefully you checked this out before the presentation started. If that was not possible, you can watch the introducer or speakers that are on before you to get a feel for the proper distance.
When using a handheld or lectern microphone be very careful in pronouncing words that have the letter "p" in them. This letter tends to make a popping sound that is very distracting. If you are using a handheld microphone, you usually can significantly reduce the "p" sound problem if you hold the microphone at a slight angle. If the microphone is fixed on the lectern, you can
de-emphasize the word with the "p" or turn your head slightly away from the microphone.

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