Speakers & Presenters: 5 AV Tech Best Practices

Posted by | AV Technology, Meeting & Event Planning |
Speaker at Business Conference and Presentation

Meeting planners need to do everything possible within their power to extract the best performances from their invited speakers.

Peruse the Internet, look through any business magazine, and scan the bookshelf in the business topics section of the library or a bookstore and you will find no shortage of content devoted to guidance on public speaking. How prepare for a speech presentation, how to give a good speech, speaker checklists, etc.

The fact is, no matter how naturally gifted and/or well prepared the speaker is, a single technical glitch can completely ruin a presentation.

Back in 2014, renowned movie director Michael Bay was delivering a keynote speech at the CES Show when he apparently became so flustered and annoyed by a malfunctioning teleprompter that he simply stormed off the stage. (1/6/2014 – Michael Bay quits Samsung’s press conference)

Having prepped speakers at thousands of meetings and events, Tallen’s tech leads will share the top 5 things A/V Techs want speakers to do:

#1 – Use the Confidence Monitor

A “Confidence Monitor” is a separate screen that is set up downstage in front of the stage and delivers the same content that the audience sees on the regular screen, which is typically behind the speaker. Sometimes it can be used to display notes for the presenter. Note: this is different from a teleprompter, which is a screen that displays the speech word-for-word. The equipment is called a confidence monitor because it lets the speaker look at the presentation – providing the speaker with confidence that the slides are advancing properly – and avoid constantly looking back or up at the presentation that the audience sees.

#2 – Turn your shoulders, not your head

When the speaker is mic-ed up for sound its important that the speaker is aware of the affect of head movements on the sound quality. The most optimally positioned place to clip the mic is center-chest, usually clipped to the speaker’s tie or shirt. In this way, the voice is projected directly towards the mic, allowing the mic to pick up the fullest sound from the voice. If a speaker starts to move his or her head around on stage while speaking, the mic clipped to the center chest will still pick up sound but it will lose some of its “fullness.” Speakers can still move around on stage and face different directions, and it won’t affect the sound capture…as long as the movement is from the shoulders, not the head.

#3 – Know where the speakers are (and don’t walk in front of them)

When the speaker (human) walks in front of the speaker (electromechanical device which produces sound) with the mic on, the resulting loud, earsplitting squealing sound that causes everyone in the room’s eyes to pop out of their head is called feedback. Quite simply, stated, the AV team wants presenters to know that the best way to avoid it is to not walk in front of the speakers.

#4 – Clearly understand how to advance & reverse slides

It doesn’t get much more basic than that. Every speaker should ask for a quick 30-second tutorial from the AV tech to make sure they are up-to-speed with whatever technology is being used.

#5 – Know how to communicate when a malfunction occurs

Even the most flawlessly executed event is, at some point, likely to experience some sort of unforeseen situation or circumstance. The best course of action for speakers is to ignore the mishap or glitch and move forward through the presentation as if nothing happened. This way, the audience’s attention is quickly regained. If the situation lingers and becomes impossible not to acknowledge, then the key here is to act professionally in every way. Simply acknowledge the situation, and thank the AV staff for addressing the issue. Do not become flustered (as in the Michael Bay CES incident) or show any kind of negative emotion. Also, tempting as it may be to show off any improvisational skills, it is best to refrain from resorting to comedy or jokes, because this also diverts the audiences’ attention.

Your AV technical team is there to make sure you reach your audience with a clear and impactful message. Follow their advice, trust their judgment, and you’re sure to deliver a great presentation.

Author Bio

Andrew Taffin, CEO of Tallen Technology Rentals, co-founded the Iselin, NJ-based company in 2002. A regular speaker at industry conferences and events, Andrew is also one of the founding members and former president, of the International Technology Rental Association (ITRA).  For more information please email Services@tallen-inc.com and visit www.tallen-inc.com.

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