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Public Speaking Ideas- Audience Participation Adds Impact-Part Five-Sound

Public Speaking Ideas– Audience Participation Adds Impact- Part Five- Sound

Have you ever been in a conversation, heard something and interrupted with, “What was that?” Many would say that sound is one of the most important senses we have. It allows us to listen, of course, but it also serves as an alert, or warning system. It is a special filter that our brains have the capacity to use to help us decide what we want and need to listen to, and what is not as important. Ever sit in a restaurant oblivious to the sounds around you until you catch a simple word from another conversation, your ears perk up, you motion to the person you’re with to be quiet and your strain to catch the conversation you were previously unaware of- all because one word you overheard? Stop right now, sit back and make take note of all the things you can hear but were previously unaware of, quite interesting.

When you are making a presentation your audience has many sounds going on around them, not just what you’re saying. So why not use that to your advantage. Besides your voice engage their hearing in activities that will help reinforce your message. Hearing a speaker on time management, there was a continuous clicking sound that was almost distracting, until the presenter mentioned the seconds pounding away on a watch. We had all been hearing it, but when we discovered what it was, it reinforced the value of time and the crime of wasting it.

A song played before, during or after a presentation can be a powerful things if the words are displayed and there is an obvious emotional connection to the presentation (just be aware that long (or even not-so-long) instrumentals can cause people’s minds to wonder. A loud noise that rattles the audience can make a vivid point if used wisely and timed properly. I attended a Good Friday service in which the pounding of a hammer against a nail could be heard in the background. Once when talking about teamwork I would randomly bang a loud cymbal. At the end I made the point that as part of a symphony a cymbal can be a very valuable instrument, while by itself it simply is nerve-racking- it made the point well.

When you plan a presentation consider how to involve the sense of hearing beyond just using your words. It may get you message to your audience beyond the ears and into their imagination.


Author: Craig Wagganer, Date Published: October 21, 2009

Craig Wagganer was an instructor for The Leader's Institute ® from 2007-2012. For more details, you can find him on LinkedIn.

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