Manner of Speaking

Don’t blow it with your audience

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Last week I attended the graduation ceremony for the class of a business school where I teach. The graduates had taken their seats, the audience was settled in, the three-piece orchestra had just finished the last of its pieces. Everything was set.

The Master of Ceremonies approached the microphone. He paused, he smiled, he looked at the audience. Then he leaned towards the microphone … and forcefully blew into it to check if it was working.

The noise was jarring. I saw several people flinch and a few rubbing their ears.

Please don’t do this when you speak. It is annoying and it is unnecessary.

Test the microphone beforehand to make sure that it is on and working properly. Then, when it’s your time to speak, approach the microphone … and start speaking! It’s that simple.

If the microphone is working properly, you are off to a good start. If, in the unlikely even that the microphone is not working, you will know almost immediately. Then you can take the appropriate remedial action.

Speaking with a microphone takes preparation and practice, but it is not rocket science. Take the time to make sure that it is working and that you know how to use it. Your speech will be that much more polished.

Please don’t blow it. Literally and figuratively.

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