Can Your Audience Hear You?

As a speaker, you often do not know the answer to that question. 13 percent of Americans between the ages of 45 and 64 have some sort of hearing loss. Many times, they will smile and nod to avoid embarassment. Joy Jacobson Colle discusses tips to make sure your audience hears you in the October 2000 edition of The Toastmaster magazine.

1 Tell the audience to give you a cue if anyone is having trouble hearing. That way the audience members can signal you without calling attention to themselves or interrupting you.

2 Take responsibility for being heard. Don't wait for the audience to rectify the situation. Most likely, no one will change seats to hear you better.

3 Be responsive to your audience. Ask if everyone can hear you. Ask again if the noise level changes. React appropriately by moving closer or projecting your voice.

4 Take advantage of a public-address system, especially you are speaking to a large group or if your voice isn't strong.

5 Plan ahead. Know your audience. Know that in any give audience, at least someone will have difficulty hearing you.

6 Know your own voice. Ask at a Toastmasters meeting if your voice is strong and carries well. Sometimes we cannot gauge our own loudness very well. Practice projecting your voice.

7 Use a lapel microphone instead of one that obscures visibility to your face.

8 Condense seating so that your audience is as close to you as possible.

9 Make sure your supplemental visual materials display key words to augment your spoken message.

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