Being Handed a Sticky Microphone

Written by Pam Chambers Be first to comment on this post.

Ugh! I was the after lunch speaker at a networking event. During the lunch hour, the emcee announced, Now for the fun part! Lets all go around the room and briefly introduce ourselves.

The first thing wrong with this is the word briefly. We all know that the farther around the circle we go, the more lengthy and unfocused the introductions become, and I know from experience that this emcee will do nothing to keep the comments uniformly brief. I can already foresee that my speaking time will be cut.

The second thing wrong with this is that everyone was using the same hand-held cordless mic that Id be using. After 50 people have handled this mic, Ill be the 51st. People have been running their hands through their hair, removing fish bones from their mouth, coughing and sneezing, and who knows what else (some having just returned from the bathroom).

This mic is teeming with germs and when I hold it, within seconds my hand will BURN as if exposed to hazardous waste. AND, because of the lunch consisting of onions, garlic, kimchi, and fish, I can only imagine how the business end of the mic will smell. Ugh, ugh, ugh!

Impractical ideas:

  1. I could have worn gloves as part of my ensemble.

2. I could have brought latex gloves. I could have snapped them on as if getting ready for surgery.

3. I could have wrapped the mic in a protective cloth napkin.

What I did: Oh, my! Theres something sticky on this mic. Could someone please bring me a wet napkin? After receiving said napkin, I casually walked over to the lectern pretending I needed something I had left there. This gave me the opportunity to wipe the whole thing as I crouched down to pluck some (unnecessary) papers from my briefcase.

The last time this happened, there was a break between the time the mic was passed from hand to hand, and the time I was to start speaking into it. Holding the mic gingerly between thumb and forefinger, I approached one of the A/V personnel and point-blank asked him to sanitize the mic. He understood instantly and took it to the kitchen.

Holding a clean mic is as refreshing as washing your hands after a morning of errands. Now I bring disinfecting wipes and Im discreet. But if someone catches me in the act, Ill shrug and say, Paranoid about germs.


Skeptical People in your Audience

Written by Pam Chambers Be first to comment on this post.

Yesterday I started a new series of classes with a construction company. The owner warned me that there would be a couple of people who would be skeptical of the value of my message and methods. He looked worried when he told me this. I felt like saying, “That doesn’t bother me one bit.” Instead, I sympathized with his concern.

Sure enough, two of the seven participants displayed resistant body language: One sat with his arms tightly crossed. The other leaned back in his chair, hands clasped behind his head.

It took about 15 minutes to win them over. I did this using logic and humor. “I’m sure you’re wondering why I say you shouldn’t stand with your hands covering your crotch. By the way, that’s called ‘Fig-Leaf Position.’ The reason is that you might be misunderstood as someone who needs protection. I’m sure you’d like to come across as more confident than that. Thus, train yourself to separate your hands.”

These folks are logical, practical, and function primarily from the left-brain. Everything I say needs to make sense. If you face audiences of this ilk, be sure you can back up your teachings with logic.



The Life-Changing Power of “Thank You”

Written by Pam Chambers Be first to comment on this post.

People who earn black belts in karate get there by being grateful for each kick that lands them on the floor. They scramble to their feet, bow, and say, “Thank you!” to the person who knocked them down.

When I first witnessed that, I knew I had to make an immediate change in how my public speaking students responded to feedback. Instead of explanation, defensiveness, or justification, gratitude was in order.

When you simply say, “Thank you” to feedback, the feedback has a chance to be absorbed. You then have three choices: Keep it, analyze it, or throw it away. But you can do none of these if the feedback doesn’t get in.

You might benefit by implementing feedback about your volume, rate of speech, duration of eye contact, willingness to think before responding to questions, and much, much more.

Feedback is the breakfast of champions.