3 Tips for Professional Speakers

MicrophonesIf you’re a professional speaker, I’ll bet that you’ve had a microphone malfunction while onstage. After 30 years in the audio/video business, I have seen and heard it all when it comes to mic problems. No matter the reason for bad sound, once it happens, your presentation has suffered irreparable damage.

Tip #1–Invest in Your Own Wireless Microphone

If you earn more than $20,000 per year as a speaker, I strongly recommend that you invest $750 – $1,500 on a professional wireless microphone. To my mind, if you’re a professional golfer, you bring your own set of clubs; and if you’re a professional speaker, you bring your own wireless mic. Probably the most popular systems today are those from the German manufacturer Sennheiser.

A wireless microphone system consists of three components, which can be purchased as a package or separately: a wireless transmitter, a wireless receiver, and a microphone that plugs in to the transmitter. At Primeau Productions, we prefer the systems available from Sennheiser and Audio Technica. Shure, Lectrosonics and Sony are other well-known brands. Any professional wireless mic system should include a receiver that features diversity reception. These units incorporate two separate receiving antennas and two independent receiving circuits tuned to the same channel. Signal strength from each antenna/receiver combination is continuously compared, and the strongest is used to feed the public address system.

In choosing a mic, there are a wide variety of models that can be connected to the small, battery-powered, wireless transmitter that is usually worn under a jacket. There are three basic types of microphones used in wireless mic systems: the lavalier (a lapel or clip-on miniature mic), the headset (a miniature mic on an extensible arm, worn on the head or around the ear), and the handheld (a wireless version of the full-size microphones used by TV news reporters in the field). Use the type of microphone that is most comfortable for you. In my personal opinion, handheld mics withstand handling and traveling best, and they offer the highest quality sound.

Tip #2–Get a Professionally Produced Promotional Video

In addition to a wireless mic, all professional speakers must have a professionally produced promotional video. Your video serves as a brief introduction to you, your presentation style and the topics on which you speak. A dynamic, informative and entertaining video is essential for booking high-paying speaking engagements with corporations and groups. In most cases, we can produce your promotional DVD using existing footage, saving you the expense of shooting new video. With professional voice-over artists, production music and motion graphics, Primeau Video Productions will help you making a lasting, positive first impression on event planners and bookers.

Tip #3–Build Your Business

Finally, how do you thank past clients and ask them for referrals? Many of the professional speakers we work with use SendOutCards, a convenient, online greeting card service. Also, ask past clients for feedback and get their opinions with questions such as, “What did you like most about my presentation, and what did you like least?” and “What did you take away from my presentation?” Questions like these will help you fine-tune your presentations, improve audience response, and ultimately, ensure increased bookings.

Similarly, reach out to fellow speakers and solicit their advice. They are usually happy to provide other professionals with honest, constructive criticism, and they are a great source of referrals. In building your business, each of these steps enhances your referability. This is no time to be complacent – satisfied with the same number of engagements as last year. Now is the time to create your future: be different, be the best you can, and most importantly, be professional.

photo credit: Microphones via photopin (license)

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