"Wake up!" How to deal with a board audience?

Audience 3.JPG

Can you wake up this audience?

You can if you earn their attention.

Recently I received this question from an experienced presenter. Feel his pain.

 I thought my portion went reasonably well, but I was preceded by a presenter who took about three hours for a 25-minute workshop and sort of lulled the room into a state of boredom. I could feel him losing the room during his presentation, and I knew it wouldn’t be good news for me to follow. Sure enough, I was met with many glazed-over eyes and a real lack of participation and interactiveness. What have you seen dynamic presenters do in that situation? I’m sure for every great presenter out there, there are plenty of bad ones, and if I want to be great, I’ll need to be able to pick up my game, regardless of those before or after me.

Following a dud is worse than following a champ.

Here is my answer. Please send us your suggestions for his plight.

I have seen this all too often.

 Here are steps I have seen successful:

  • When you are introduced, be in the back of the room, speak loudly and thank the previous presenter. Make a grand entrance slapping high 5's and show energy

  • Use music to transition to your presentation. Farrell Williams' "Happy" is a good example..

  • Consider running a video of “Happy.” Here is a version with the Minions. https://youtu.be/MOWDb2TBYDg Wait a minute then begin clapping along with the music. It says "clap" on the screen but a tired audience may be reluctant.

  • At the very least, get them up in place with some activity. Don't let them leave the room. Promise them you will only take (xx) "useful" minutes and they are free to leave.

  • Be discovered in the audience, stand on a chair, and greet the crowd with your promise to be (xx) minutes with useful content

  • Anything that will completely recover the room will be unexpected and welcome.

  • One presenter recently entered the room with music and 5 twenty dollar bills. He handed them out randomly with a promise each recipient could keep the $20 if they answered a question at the end of his presentation.

  • Keep your energy up through the entire presentation, being interactive where possible, as often as possible.

  • BE RELEVANT - don't waste their time - at all. They will begin to leave for sure.

  • In many cased this challenge is worse than speaking after lunch.

Give me your thoughts on these suggestions when you can.

We can hear you but we can't understand what you are saying

Intelligibility - A loud sound system means nothing if you can't understand what is being said. How many times have you heard a band and you can't separate the words from the background? Worse yet a guest speaker?

 Photo by permission from Chris Walsh

Photo by permission from Chris Walsh

In a recent post by Audio Precision they offer new software to measure intelligibility.

"Measuring speech intelligibility is an important capability for engineers designing and validating a wide range of communication systems, products and components, especially those related to public safety (e.g., police, fire, emergency) where intelligibility is critically important."

I equate good sound to that of a flashlight beam. If you are in a totally dark room with a flashlight, anything in the "beam" of light will be clearly visible. Anything else in the dark room will have a "glow" from the flashlight but with diminished clarity.

A sound system should deliver direct sound to every audience member. If not, some of your audience will be in the "glow" of the sound system, but not able to detect the difference between "sitting" and something much worse.

Importance of speech intelligibility - Audio Precision

The purpose of communication systems is to transmit information via speech. As such, the intelligibility—or comprehensibility—of the transmitted speech is of utmost importance. One of the more precise definitions of intelligibility is the proportion of speech items (words and/or speech sounds) uttered by a talker, and sent via a communication system, that can be recognized by the listener.

Don't accept a sound system that only delivers noise. Insist on quality, direct sound to every audience member. Not just filling the room with noise.

Professional sound systems are "tuned" by experts, many using software similar to what Audio Precision offers.

Meeting planners can not expect the typical in-house-AV supplier to understand any of this. During planning, insist you are able to test, with your ears, every section of the audience's ability to understand the content.

Insist every member of your audience can see and hear. #AudienceAdvocate - Google it

TheY are not standing on a lectern!

 Gold, silver and bronze winners STAND on this

Gold, silver and bronze winners STAND on this

You are right, winners don't stand on a "lectern."

They stand on a "podium."

 

podium - noun 

UK  /ˈpəʊ.di.əm/ US /ˈpoʊ.di.əm/ plural podiums or podia

A raised area on which a person stands to speak to a large number of people, to conduct music, or to receive a prize in a sports competition. "Tears ran down her face as she stood on the winner's podium."

Here in the United States anyway, people are constantly using the word “podium” (what you stand on) to refer to the “lectern” (what you stand behind). The reverse, not so much. Confusing these two words erodes the richness of the language. We’re on the verge of having two words for “lectern” and none for “podium.” - Daily Writing Tips By Maeve Maddox

More from "On-The-Job Speech Training" eBook from https://www.amazon.com/Job-Speech-Training-ebook/dp/B00DPM70G2

 

STOP apologizing for the AV at the beginning of your next meeting

What does every audience expect?

The following observations are from more than 20 years supporting large and small events worldwide.

Designation of Events Industry Council (EIC) Certified Meeting Planner “CMP” is no guarantee AV gets the same attention as other event details.

This issue of the #AudienceAdvocate blog is prompted by a recent MPI meeting at the home of the Miami Dolphins Hard Rock Stadium.

Unusual venues have great event opportunities. AV details are ignored just as much as the typical convention hotel or convention center.

 If the bottom of the screen must be 5'6" for everyone to see, what where they thinking? 

If the bottom of the screen must be 5'6" for everyone to see, what where they thinking? 

Every experienced meeting planner knows to pay attention to these “basics.”

  • Comfortable surroundings
  • Temperature, seating, timely schedule, easy access, close parking, clean restrooms
  • Quality food and content
  • Attention to detail with food selection and service
  • Rehearsed meeting presentations
  • Dance band or DJ and appropriate décor ·      

AV details are ignored.

  • Can every audience member see and hear?
  • Screen(s) large enough to read everything from the back of the room
  • Screens high enough (5’6” minimum) to the bottom of each screen
  • Bright projector with backup projector or spare lamp
  • Backup computer with same PowerPoint™ program loaded
  • RF (not Infared) remote control for graphics
  • No ambient light on the screen
  • Minimize ambient noise in the room – air conditioner, adjacent events
  • Blackout drapes on any daylight windows
  • Sound system tested with each speaker to insure proper volume and clarity
 Does the venue know the sun sets at the same time every day in those windows?

Does the venue know the sun sets at the same time every day in those windows?

Until AV is given the same attention as catering, AV will be a stepchild, ignored by even the most seasoned meeting planner.

Missing on every MPI meeting evaluation –

  • How would you rate the - 
    • AV
    • Lighting
    • Sound
    • Could you clearly understand all the presenters?
    • Were you able to read all content on the screens without distraction?

How do avoid apologizing for the AV at the beginning of your next meeting? Add an #AudienceAdvocate to your meeting team.

Please "share" this post with colleagues - Ray Franklin – 702-879-8177  

rfranklin@stageamerica.com