[photo by Dieter G. from Pixabay]
I know this is a tough question but how do you sound? Too often we take this essential aspect of communication for granted when we really shouldn’t.
Given that we’re often communicating virtually, many of us simply rely on the microphones built into our computer. Seems easy enough. The built-in microphone in our computer is often not high quality and as a result may not have you sounding as crystal clear as you think. While that may suffice for some purposes, it’s imperative to explore additional audio options that are available to you. This is particularly important when conducting a webinar, podcast, or any online meeting or training.
In past blog entries I’ve recommended that you sound your best by adjusting your posture, breathing effectively, reducing your rate of speech, pausing as needed, allowing necessary lag time, and controlling your articulation pattern. All of that is still applicable, however you also want to consider your audio quality by:
- Using an external USB microphone. There are many options from which to choose so a careful review is in order as well as consideration of your budget. If in doubt, you may want to consider consulting with a professional audio technician to get specific recommendations.
- Testing your microphone in advance to ensure it is recognized by your computer, it’s operating effectively, and that you are satisfied with the quality of sound it produces.
- Ensuring you eliminate any ambient noise which may include printers, overhead fans, cell phones, humming air conditioners, and external sounds heard from windows (e.g. traffic, sirens, mowers).
- Keeping yourself free of distractions by working from a quiet office or room (if at home) and closing the door to avoid inadvertent interruptions from well-intended visitors, family members or adorable pets. Consider hanging a sign on your door to give others advance notice.
- Positioning yourself close enough to your microphone to be able to use adequate volume but not overwhelm your listeners.
- Making sure your face can be readily seen and your lips are visible (so avoid lighting from behind you). The more visual your message is, the more readily you’ll be understood.
How we sound is vitally important to our audiences, whether it’s one person or a large group. Your goal is to always make it easy to be heard and to deliver your message with clarity. You would expect the exact same if the tables were reversed, so therefore it is common sense to provide this when you’re speaking.
If you have any questions, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-664-6004.