[This post is part of our series on Public Speaking in the Church]
Your success as a speaker is partly dependent on the team you work with, especially the tech team. You can craft the best speech ever, but if the sound person does a sloppy job, you’ll suffer for it. The other way around is true as well. A good collaboration with the people around you can greatly contribute to your effectiveness. So how do you make the tech team love you as a speaker?
It’s really not that hard—and it’s partly simple kindness and partly doing your job. Let’s start with the kindness part.
The first step is to introduce yourself, assuming you’re a guest speaker. That means showing up early enough so you can do that.
Stay Kind During Trouble
If something goes wrong, stay nice. Don’t be that guy (or that girl) who explodes when your mic doesn’t work, or when they can’t eliminate that annoying high beep. They’re trying, so must you.
Say Thank You
Don’t forget to say thank you afterwards. Remember, this is the crew that often only gets the complaints, not the compliments. A simple ‘good job’ goes a long way.
The ‘doing your job’ part is equally simple. It requires a little prep on your side, though. If this seems obvious, remember that this is a step many speakers tend to skip. Again, to make the tech team love you as a speaker is not hard, but you gotta do your part, too.
Be On Time
The tech team needs a little time to make you sound good. That means you need to show up on time, so they can outfit you with a mic and test it.
Familiarize Yourself With the Equipment
Every mic is different, every head set is different. Make sure you know how to switch your mic on and off, so you can make a seamless transition before and after the talk.
With a headset, the battery pack needs to be ‘hidden’ somewhere. For men this is often easier than for women. Make sure you wear something where you can fit that pack. And if you have to switch it on right before you speak, make sure you can put it back without revealing too much. If that’s not an option (again, this is harder for women because of the type of clothes they tend to wear), ask the tech team if they can leave it on the entire time, but ‘mute’ it when you’re not speaking.
Speaking with a mic takes a little practice. If you’re a novice, try and get some practice time in. I bet one of the tech people on your church or organization would be willing to help you out. Try different types of mics (head set, lapel mic, hand held) and ask the tech person for feedback on how well you sound.
Many people tend to hold a handheld too far off for instance, or at the wrong angle. With lapel mics, rustling is an issue, for instance from ties or shawls. A head set usually should be very close to your skin/mouth—also a rookie mistake from inexperienced speakers.
Give Specific Instructions When Warranted
Sometimes, you’re planning something special during your talk, like a video, a live demonstration, or a song. It helps to let the tech team know, so they know what to expect, and can practice it if necessary.
I’ve also had speaking engagements where I had a cold and was still coughing occasionally. Agreeing on a subtle signal beforehand meant the tech person would mute the mic so I could cough.
And last but not least: follow instructions. If your tech person says to put the mic closer to your mouth, or change the angle, or whatever, do it. It’s their job to make you sound good. It’s your job to follow their instructions.
If you do these simple things, I can guarantee you will make the tech team love you as a speaker!
What are your best and worst experiences, either as a speaker or from a tech person point of view, in this collaboration between speakers and tech people?
[Photo credit: Lightstock. Used with permission, all rights reserved.]