Unless you deliver your entire speech from
the lectern, you’ll want to use a wireless
microphone. Decide your preference: handheld or lavaliere. Hotels or the AV companies they contract with will happily provide
either, but you must request what you want
Handheld microphones deliver the truest
sound replication and greatest dynamics.
Therefore, this is often the choice for vocalists, storytellers and speakers who wish to add
character and variety to their voice or
“punch up” stories with sound effects, interesting voices or impressions. The drawback:
you have to hold it next to your mouth, which
limits your gestures and physicality.
Lavaliere microphones clip to your tie, shirt
or jacket and give you hands-free operation.
The downside is sound quality. The sound
spectrum is extremely limited, and the microphone itself is directional. This means if you
turn your head away from your tie or jacket,
the mike doesn’t pick up what you said, and
neither does the audience.
Headset microphones offer the best of
both worlds—great sound reproduction and
hands-free use. But they are not standard
equipment for most AV companies and
hotels. My solution: I bring my own Countryman Isomax E6 headset. It’s a beautiful mike
that costs about $400 and fits in your shirt
pocket. It’s nearly invisible from the audience’s perspective. My E6 is configured with
the proper connection for a Shure Wireless
system (standard equipment at 90 percent
of hotels). When I arrive for a presentation, I
plug my mike into the facility’s lavaliere system, which I have requested in advance,
and it sounds awesome.
Your microphone and other audio inputs
(additional microphones, your laptop, musical instrument, CD player and iPod) plug
into a mixer. This piece of equipment allows
you to control the volume level for each
input source independently. The different
channels are numbered. The mixer also has
a master volume that will raise or lower the
level of all inputs simultaneously. Once the
master level is set, you will want to leave it
alone and control individual channels as
needed. You must be able to:
• locate the mixer
• identify which channels control which
inputs, especially your microphone
• adjust the levels accordingly
Feedback is caused by excessive volume or by moving your microphone
directly in front of or under a speaker. If you
hear your mike beginning to ring, lower the
volume. You are dangerously close to
Shining in Your Light
Hotel lighting is predictably inadequate,
unless you’re presenting at a large event with
a production company and contracted
lighting crew. So, what can you do? Be conscious of where the light is. There will be a
brighter spot somewhere on the stage. Find
it. Spend most of your time there.
You can request a follow spot. Understand that this is an added expense for your
client. Hotels do not usually have follow
spots and will have to rent the light and hire
an operator. Still, if it’s what you need to
deliver your best, go for it!
Lighting trees are another option and
another rental expense. These freestanding
lights are set in advance and provide a
general wash over the stage area.
Here’s a low-budget solution: Bring a
portable work light, available at Home
Depot. These powerful lights operate on
stands and are adjustable and highly effective. I used these regularly when performing
on military bases in the Middle East.
If you need to adjust the lighting during
your presentation, you will encounter other
issues. Larger ballrooms are actually multiple
rooms, and each section will be controlled
by a separate panel. In most facilities, these
rooms can be chained together, allowing
you to adjust all sections from one control
If you are using a laptop-driven presentation, such as PowerPoint, be sure your projected images are clearly visible (no light
washing them out) and you are still well-lit
on the stage. This takes planning. To accomplish this balance, you might need to
ask the engineer to unscrew the light bulb
directly in front of the screen.
Running the Show
You are the author, actor, producer and director of your performance. You call the shots. No
one is more vested in the success of your presentation than you are. It’s up to you to use
every advantage to engage and persuade
your audience. Amateurs get ready to deliver
a speech by finding the room. You are a pro.
Your career is on the line every time. Make
sure that you own the stage.
Dan Thurmon, CSP, is the author of the
book Success in Action, The Direct Path
to Your Higher Potential. He delivers action-packed keynote presentations for a worldwide clientele, teaching individuals how
to stretch their abilities and sharpen their
focus. Visit www.
or contact dan@