Have you ever been seated in the audience when a presenter asked: “Hello, can you all hear me there in the back?” and you thought „yea that’s fine“. And then he or she started their presentation and you couldn’t understand a word…Not having at least good sound quality will make the whole presentation a waste of time for everybody involved. If nobody understood what was said during that presentation, it was due to any or all of the following:
- The room had poor acoustics.
- There was noise disturbing the presentation.
- The wrong microphones were used.
- The right microphones were used in the wrong way.
- The quality of the sound system was poor.
- An unprofessional sound operator was at the mixing desk.
In any case, the message didn’t reach your audience.
Here are 10 ways to make your presenters and their presentation sound great:
- When choosing your event venue, go into the meeting room you intend to use and just clap your hands. It may seem awkward, but that’s how you spot bad acoustics. If you hear a distinct ringing sound that spells trouble. The room is still usable but you will have to use a very high quality sound system (I mean expensive). If you hear just your own clap and not much more, chances are very good your presenter will be understood.
- Try to visit the venue during an event to hear the sound quality. Believe me you’ll know when it’s good and when it’s bad.
- Also, listen for distracting noises like air conditioning, plates clattering or noises coming from the other side of a movable dividing wall. That’s one of the reasons I hate rooms with movable dividing walls because the rooms are never acoustically separated.
- Using the right types of microphones is crucial. For presenters, wireless headsets, work really well. They maintain a constant distance to the mouth, are close to the mouth which guarantees little feedback and the presenters hands are free.
- Lavaliere microphones (the ones that are clipped to ties) are very difficult to position correctly. Noise from clothes or jewelry rubbing against the microphone can be a problem plus they may not stay in that position when the presenter moves around. Use these with caution.
- To understand questions from the audience, you need at least one handheld wireless microphone and a person to carry it around.
- If you have more than one presenter at the same time as in podium discussions, then the operator has to be experienced in handling multiple microphones. Leaving all microphones opened will result in massive feedback.
- Always brief the presenters using handheld microphones to hold the microphone close to their mouth. They should not pull the microphone back if they think they are too loud. It’s the sound operators job to turn them down and if they are good, they will instantly.
- If lectern microphones are not close enough to the presenter, they have to be moved closer. Doing this during the presentation isn’t pleasant but having to put up with poor sound quality is worse.
- The longer your event is the more important good sound quality is. Why? Because your audience will get something called listening fatigue. This means they get tired or even experience discomfort and you don’t want that.