When asked to give a talk, be sure you take control of the environment. The audio system is your lifeblood to the audience. By this I mean TEST the microphone / loudspeaker system. Not just bellowing “1-2-3.” Put on the head device, or clip on the lapel mic or hold the 10 inch mic in your hand. I really prefer the over the head kind – like Madonna made popular.
Hake sure the engineer tells you how far to hold these. Speak as you would during your talk. Don’t tell him “I have a booming voice – I don’t need a mic.” You do. There will be people in the audience that are hard of hearing. Many may ask to record your talk and you’ll need to have it come out crisp.
Another tip – when you turn your head to talk, you may lose the maximum connectivity to the system. This is really true with lapel mics. If you use a slide changer AND a laser pointer AND a hand-held, you either need to grow a new hand or learn to manage all three. I jam my bright green laser pointer next to the clicker (I do not like the wimpy red lasers on slide clickers), so they hold as one unit.
Professional speakers have to change – including the cruise ship speakers.
The old grey mare ain’t what she used to be = things are not the way they used to be
Audiences are changing. Millennials. The Me-generation. The people in the chairs are different now than they use to be.
It used to be that a speaker could get up and weave a good story and attendees would listen attentively. Not so any more.
I spoke not long ago in Phoenix to a large group of web designers, ALL of whom had their laptops with them, opened and with a LIVE wi-fi connection. My first task was to get them to look away from their screens.
Not long ago, okay maybe it was long ago but it doesn’t feel so because I have a lot of years, listeners were content to sit passively, listen to a monologue, a lecture, a diatribe, a rant … or watch a panel solve the world’s problems … more likely fight over what they perceive them to be. Not any more.
Speakers used to be the center of attention, the entertainer, the expert and the listeners were expected to absorb bits, pieces, globs of wisdom imparted by the guy upstairs, er, up on the stage.
Not any more. Listeners can now check facts instantly and question the authority of the speaker and may often know more and have more experience than the speaker but doesn’t have the years or the experience.
Audiences are now the center of attention. It’s not about the expert but about the learner. The audience is thinking “why should I care? make it relevant or I am going back to my laptop/smartphone.”
If the speaker doesn’t understand this shift, s/he may still get up on stage … but they are not likely to be invited back.
I have previously written about the need or desire for some professional speakers to improve their optimism.
A group of national speakers association members included this trait in a brainstorming session I participated in.
I welcome you to take a look. You won’t like what you read.
I also shared a story that helped improve my, ahem, optimistic outlook on life. Or better yet, how it improved my optimism. It happened when I was in Manila.
A couple of weeks ago I was in Phoenix. And try as I might to be prepared and avoid all eventualities things will go wrong when they go wrong. (Does that make me a pessimist or a realist?)
An optimist does not expect that things will never go wrong, s/he will expect that they can resolve the issue no matter what goes wrong. That’s a real optimist, no?
In Phoenix, my computer went dead. For some reason that escaped me at the time the PC would not charge, and when it was charged it wouldn’t hold the charge … even it was plugged in!
Moments before I went up on stage, down it went. We tried everything. I looked the part of a bumbling old man. Old comes naturally, but bumbling … I didn’t need that.
Forced shut down, reboot, slow slow start, too much pushing of buttons, and and and .. all while hundreds of people who didn’t know me from Adam stared on. I could hear people sighing.
All the while I was thinking how I could make the presentation without the slides – which would have been a tremendous waste of efforts considering how much time I had put into them.
In the end … we got it going and I did my thing.
The real point: working through the adversity gave me confidence and a more optimistic outlook for come what may next time.
Interestingly – pushing through adversity makes us more optimistic. Giving in makes us pessimistic.
Don’t give in.