Chapter Eight: Communication; 29 August
Again Jesus began to teach by the lake.
The crowd that gathered around him was so large
that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake,
while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge.
He taught them many things by parables…
|Using Electronics For Public Speaking|
Once upon a time Your Business Professor was in the middle of drafting an article on the glass ceiling for women. Instead I got a first person account.
I thought I’d give the little woman a respite from the laundry and the kids. “Go play in the Nation’s Capital,” I said to Charmaine one morning. “Have a fun lunch with the girls!”
Then I heard Rush Limbaugh on the radio talking about a smack down at the Supreme Court and I soon saw a photo of Charmaine in her red power suit on Limbaugh’s website.
She had the then president of the National Organization of Women, Kim Gandy, in a half nelson.
I have sat through a number of cantankerous board meetings. Adversarial budget negotiations. Hardball sales presentations. Terminations. Giving and getting.
But no one actually got spanked.
I thought the gathering of girls today would be a powder puff tea party of cooperation. Sweetness and light and reason and ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you.’
I was wrong. No one fights like a mother on a microphone mission.
The wife of Your Business Professor, Charmaine, was at an impromptu press conference pictured with her “moving” (let’s not call it shoving) Kim Gandy away from the bank of microphones. Today one only speaks to an audience in front of a microphone.
Voice amplification is a recent invention. Sound does carry on water, and speakers could use the natural acoustics. We don’t know how many people Jesus addressed when giving the Parable of the Sower. But we can estimate that there were some 10,000 listeners as Jesus spoke when multiplying the loaves and fishes. An audience this size forces the unaided speaker to project from the diaphragm and less the voice box.
This is less of a challenge in our electronic times.
In your business promotion, you, the boss, will someday be called to speak before a handheld microphone or a bank of microphones to talk about your particular expertise.
If you deign to be interviewed by a reporter, or instead will speak at a planned, orchestrated press conference, here are seven tips to remember for the handheld or externally fixed microphone.
1) The microphone comes to you. When speaking to a reporter who is holding the microphone, she will move the mic to you. Or there will be a boom mic floating near-by. You do not move to the mic or bob around speaking here or there. Be still. Remember, you are the expert. Maybe you’re not the center of the Universe, but close. The pro has measured movements.
2) Remain in the frame. Your mouth should be a spread-hand’s width from the mic, just below your mouth. This is to allow cameras to get a better show of your fab face. And to prevent ‘popping’ into the mic — ‘d’s,’ ‘t’s,’ or ‘p’s’ are explosives if directed straight into the microphone. If there is a bank or cluster of microphones, any cameras or the reporters will be centered directly in front of the mic stands. Do not move around. Don’t make the camera guys or sound guys work too much.
3) Watch your back. If the presser is planned by your PR flacks, your backdrop will have your company logo behind you. If not, see what’s over your shoulder. Look for statues of naked women behind you. (More common than one would imagine, especially in Your Nation’s Capital.)
4) Start with your name, rank and the mundane. You will, of course, already have practiced your pitch. And like any good lawyer you already know all the answers, but more important, you know and have heard all the questions. Stating the obvious gets your mouth a-motoring and helps the sound guys start to fiddling with the knobs if needed — your self-intro will probably get edited out, but it will serve as sound check until you say something important. Assume they can hear you; don’t ask, they’ll tell.
5) Don’t handle the microphones. Unless you are giving a 45-minute key-noter and the mic belongs to you — leave the equipment alone. There are apt to be a number of speakers coming to the mics. Handling the machinery might create noise picked up by the other mics. But if you must touch them, do it while talking in some connective or redundant phrase in case of clatter. That will get edited out.
6) Bend your knees to get in range of an extremely short mic. This is, of course, the trick of tall teenage girls when dancing with short guys. Bending over at the waist gives an ungainly, slouching appearance. You, Gentle Reader, are no slouch. Stand tall. Bow to no man.
7) Lower your voice. Lower your pitch. Your voice may get high pitched, as you get nervous. And you better be nervous. If you do not have any adrenaline flowing when speaking publicly, you are too complacent.
The successful manager is a successful promoter and leader and speaker. The microphone is now another tool in your professional hands.
Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. He taught them many things by parables…Mark 4:1-2a