Wednesday, December 10, 2008

is your audience mumbling? or is it you?

In the "Well" blog today at the New York Times, instructor Grace Lim talks about how she assumed everyone around her--from her spouse to her lecture classes--was mumbling. Here's just one example she relates:
In the large auditorium where I teach one of my classes, I constantly stop my students midsentence so I can run up and down the aisles to get within hearing distance.
Turns out, of course, that she needed hearing aids. The column takes a humorous and heartfelt look at what it feels like to go from not hearing much of anything to hearing even the smallest sounds, such a revelation that Lim began announcing her new aids to all and sundry. And apparently, she's not the only speaker in her department who needs them:
At my department’s holiday party, I sat between two longtime professors.
“Look, I have hearing aids!” I greeted them. Then I told them how tough it had been to hear my students.
One of them nodded. “I can’t hear my students,” she said. “They all mumble.”
Read this one if you--or a fellow speaker--complains about your audiences, and take Lim's advice: Be a healthy speaker and get your hearing checked!

getting started as a speaker

For many speakers, gettting started is the hardest part--and I don't mean the first few paragraphs of your talk, but simply making the commitment to accept an invitation or look for one. Social media guru and blogger Chris Brogan this week offered ways to get started as a speaker that include solid tips on making connections, asking for speaker fees and even demonstrating your skills without having to give a speech. (My favorite: recording yourself on video, easy to do with your laptop and/or a Flip Video MinoHD Camcorder, for which you can handily buy a small desktop flexible tripod.) Check out Brogan's tips to see whether they can help you get started!