August 29; Using Electronics For Public Speaking
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful


Chapter Eight: Communication; 29 August

Again Jesus began to teach by the lake.

The crowd that gathered around him was so large

that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake,

while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge.

He taught them many things by parables…

Mark 4:1-2a

Using Electronics For Public Speaking


Kim Gandy, L,  Charmaine moving in

Kim Gandy, L,
Charmaine moving in

Once upon a time Your Business Professor was in the middle of drafting an article on the glass ceiling for women. Instead I got a first person account.

I thought I’d give the little woman a respite from the laundry and the kids. “Go play in the Nation’s Capital,” I said to Charmaine one morning. “Have a fun lunch with the girls!”

Then I heard Rush Limbaugh on the radio talking about a smack down at the Supreme Court and I soon saw a photo of Charmaine in her red power suit on Limbaugh’s website.

She had the then president of the National Organization of Women, Kim Gandy, in a half nelson.

I have sat through a number of cantankerous board meetings. Adversarial budget negotiations. Hardball sales presentations. Terminations. Giving and getting.

But no one actually got spanked.

I thought the gathering of girls today would be a powder puff tea party of cooperation. Sweetness and light and reason and ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you.’

I was wrong. No one fights like a mother on a microphone mission.

The wife of Your Business Professor, Charmaine, was at an impromptu press conference pictured with her “moving” (let’s not call it shoving) Kim Gandy away from the bank of microphones. Today one only speaks to an audience in front of a microphone.


Voice amplification is a recent invention. Sound does carry on water, and speakers could use the natural acoustics. We don’t know how many people Jesus addressed when giving the Parable of the Sower. But we can estimate that there were some 10,000 listeners as Jesus spoke when multiplying the loaves and fishes. An audience this size forces the unaided speaker to project from the diaphragm and less the voice box.

This is less of a challenge in our electronic times.

In your business promotion, you, the boss, will someday be called to speak before a handheld microphone or a bank of microphones to talk about your particular expertise.

If you deign to be interviewed by a reporter, or instead will speak at a planned, orchestrated press conference, here are seven tips to remember for the handheld or externally fixed microphone.

1) The microphone comes to you. When speaking to a reporter who is holding the microphone, she will move the mic to you. Or there will be a boom mic floating near-by. You do not move to the mic or bob around speaking here or there. Be still. Remember, you are the expert. Maybe you’re not the center of the Universe, but close. The pro has measured movements.

2) Remain in the frame. Your mouth should be a spread-hand’s width from the mic, just below your mouth. This is to allow cameras to get a better show of your fab face. And to prevent ‘popping’ into the mic — ‘d’s,’ ‘t’s,’ or ‘p’s’ are explosives if directed straight into the microphone. If there is a bank or cluster of microphones, any cameras or the reporters will be centered directly in front of the mic stands. Do not move around. Don’t make the camera guys or sound guys work too much.

3) Watch your back. If the presser is planned by your PR flacks, your backdrop will have your company logo behind you. If not, see what’s over your shoulder. Look for statues of naked women behind you. (More common than one would imagine, especially in Your Nation’s Capital.)

4) Start with your name, rank and the mundane. You will, of course, already have practiced your pitch. And like any good lawyer you already know all the answers, but more important, you know and have heard all the questions. Stating the obvious gets your mouth a-motoring and helps the sound guys start to fiddling with the knobs if needed — your self-intro will probably get edited out, but it will serve as sound check until you say something important. Assume they can hear you; don’t ask, they’ll tell.

5) Don’t handle the microphones. Unless you are giving a 45-minute key-noter and the mic belongs to you — leave the equipment alone. There are apt to be a number of speakers coming to the mics. Handling the machinery might create noise picked up by the other mics. But if you must touch them, do it while talking in some connective or redundant phrase in case of clatter. That will get edited out.

Congressman Bill Archer, L, Your Business Professor, Charmaine and Hannah, circa 1994

Congressman Bill Archer, L, Your Business Professor, Charmaine and Hannah, circa 1994

6) Bend your knees to get in range of an extremely short mic. This is, of course, the trick of tall teenage girls when dancing with short guys. Bending over at the waist gives an ungainly, slouching appearance. You, Gentle Reader, are no slouch. Stand tall. Bow to no man.

7) Lower your voice. Lower your pitch. Your voice may get high pitched, as you get nervous. And you better be nervous. If you do not have any adrenaline flowing when speaking publicly, you are too complacent.


The successful manager is a successful promoter and leader and speaker. The microphone is now another tool in your professional hands.

Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. He taught them many things by parables…Mark 4:1-2a



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8 Responses

  1. Arturo Mancilla says:

    Nowadays, a speech has to be innovative and authentic in order to capture the audience’s attention. Delivering a positive and energetic speech is a complex task and it is definitely not for everyone.
    Speeches play a very important role in leadership and management. In order to be a successful leader, you have to be capable of delivering an influential speech. Leaders and managers have to connect with the audience and be very positive when communicating thoughts. Moreover, they need to know their audience very well as it will help them find the best way to convey the message. Some speeches are so powerful that you even hear them fifty years after they occurred. Even now when walking through a museum one can hear JFK’s speech “We choose to go to the moon” in the background. This shows how influential speeches can be.
    In conclusion, a good introduction, a strong message and even better a developed conclusion will teach and influence ones audience. Some speeches even have the capability of changing someone’s life.

  2. If you are going to be like Professor Yoest’s wife, Charmaine, and need to be heard when making a speech, you must have a microphone.

    Before your message can transform your audience, the sound of your voice must be heard by your audience.

    The microphone is an essential tool for many public speakers. Dynamic, high quality sound can add dimension, emotion and excitement to a speech or event.

    This is exactly what happened on August 28, 1963, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. during the March on Washington, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his great “I Have a Dream” speech. It was totally electrifying.

    The content of Dr. King’s speech, his inspiring presence, and the moment in history all came together to make the iconic “I Have A Dream” speech the defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement.

    Dr. King took a leap into history, jumping from prose to poetry, from the podium to the pulpit. His voice arced into an emotional crescendo as he turned from a sobering assessment of current social injustices to a radiant vision of hope — of what America could be. “I have a dream,” he declared, “my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!”

    Dr. King’s speech was not only the heart and emotional cornerstone of the March on Washington, but also a testament to the transformative powers of one man and the magic of his words. Fifty years later, it is a speech that can still move people to tears.

    Why does Dr. King’s “Dream” speech exert such a potent hold on people around the world and across the generations? Part of its resonance resides in
    Dr. King’s moral imagination. Part of it resides in his masterly oratory and gift for connecting with his audience.

    Now this is was a speech spoken in a microphone that everyone needed to hear.

  3. Molly M says:

    This is an interesting topic that often goes without thought. Speaking in to a microphone is vastly different than speaking sans amplifier. A speaker has to be much more aware of body movement, pronunciation, and technical difficulties in order to have a successful speech.
    During a public speaking class that I took in college, my professor gave an analogy that has stuck with me during public speaking engagements to this day. She explained that when behind a podium, or in front of a microphone, you should “be a tree.” What she means by this is for the speaker to ‘root’ his/her feet in to the ground, and not shuffle them around. The movements that can be made are with the ‘branches’ or arms. They should be natural, like a branch swaying in the wind – no harsh hand movements that would detract from the words in the speech.
    This analogy has stayed with me for several years, and I’ve found that when I’m speaking publicly using a microphone or podium, this has been the trick that has helped to keep me the most calm and still stick to natural body movements without straying from the microphone’s zone.
    Of course, it’s not just enough to know how to stand strong and tall behind a bank of microphones – the speaker needs to know what he/she is talking about!

  4. Mike C says:

    This article highlights the importance of promotion using a public speaking platform to present a subject matter or an organizations’ agenda to an audience.

    Public speaking allows novice and professional speakers to communicate their message to a small group or an audience. In today’s world, reaching an expanded audience, be it local, national, or global, will greatly project one’s ideologies and potentially grow their success as a professional.

    As the article alludes, practice makes perfect. A perfect sales pitch can be obtained with practice. Part of the practice is to develop potential questions that could be asked, and preparing subsequent answers to deliver a professional response. A mistake at this level can cause the opposite of success.

    Today’s digital era allows a speaker to project their voice to a stadium size audience while speaking with a normal pitch and intonation. With practice, know-how, and a little adrenaline flowing, a speaker can give a professional delivery of their message. A great message delivery can be accomplished when the speaker is paying attention to their enunciation, communication, and presentation skills while leaving the control of the voice amplification to the sound guys.

  5. Debby L says:

    A successful public speaker is cognizant of how he sounds to the audience. This includes proper enunciation and using the microphone as a tool to enhance your message, not as a distraction to your target audience.

    In addition to mastering the art of speaking into a microphone, a strong public speaker must be able to compile and tailor the message appropriately to the intended audience. The speaker must be able to create a strong foundation for the message being delivered and ensure that it is done successfully. What message is the speaker trying to convey? Microphones help the audience HEAR the message, but a well-constructed message ensures that the audience UNDERSTANDS it.

    Lastly, confidence plays an important role in delivering a message. A successful public speaker, with or without a microphone, should always own the stage (or soapbox in some cases). Per Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk that we viewed in class a few weeks ago, sit up straight and own it. You may even have to “fake it until you make it” to gain confidence when delivering your message.

    So when the microphone presents itself, be ready to present. Change your posture, keep your message in mind, and you’ll find that your presentation will speak volumes.

  6. JMK says:

    Public speaking skills are very important to managers and leaders; it is required of business leaders to be effective public speakers since public speaking allows them to present their ideas and promote their business product. Business leaders who are able to publicly, comfortably and clearly convey their messages to their staff and clients and to choose the right message for each type of audience possess effective communication skills and strong ability to persuade and motivate their audience. Furthermore, mastering the use of public speaking tools is essential to business leaders to be able to communicate their ideas effectively.

    The last thing public speakers need is their audience to struggle in hearing and understanding their speech; therefore, it’s important to use a microphone as it can help the speakers in overcoming this obstacle.

    The article provided excellent tips that public speakers may follow when using a microphone, one of which is lowering the speaker’s voice and pitch. The most common mistake public speakers do when they are nervous is speaking loudly; this can negatively affect their audience who is sensitive to noise and results in losing their attention. Another helpful tip is the correct placement of the microphone. Most speakers tend to bring the microphone close to their mouths, which could produce loud scratches that can irritate the audience and affect their ability to listen. Finally, public speakers can be more successful in handling a microphone and delivering their speeches when they follow these tips

  7. Lauren R says:

    Even the most gift public speaker can use pointers on how to be better, have more of an impact, and how to properly handle a microphone.

    Nothing is worse than attending a speaking event and the presenter is awkwardly jostling with the microphone. Even worse is when they are forced to eschew any A/V and must project using their voice, which rarely goes well. This article was an excellent reminder that public speaking is a skill, an art form that even the most seasoned veterans must practice before going out on the stage every single time.

    Practice is important, now more than ever, because of advancements in technology. However, those same advancements can also hold back even the greatest speaker. No longer do we need to rely on people to stand in the back of the crowd, relaying our words (and potentially mincing them to bits) because we have microphones to project for us. At the same time, putting too much emphasis on the “p” in a microphone and it becomes incredibly grating and distracting for the listener. Can you imagine how history would have played out had JFK or MLK had these issues during their infamous speeches? The impact would be lost and they would become cautionary tales for future speakers on the dangers of technology.

    Ultimately, a seasoned public speaker knows that practice makes perfect and the setting doesn’t make the speech/speaker–that’s all on the individual. If you want to be a strong public speaker, you must come in believing your words and the rest will all fit together.

  1. July 11, 2017

    […] Week 4 Microphones… […]

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