September 1, 2005 Vol. III Issue 18
I’m not sure we will solve any problems or resolve the issues that arise with audio-visual challenges, but perhaps, we can at least commiserate and share some ideas. All the planning in the world is sometimes for naught when the problems arise on location.
That was the case just last week for Dr. Deborah Kern in Chicago. After a perfect sound check and introduction, her lavaliere cut in and out, in and out, in front of a packed house of 1,000 women. If the sound system is causing the speaker problems, the audience is distracted, and so is the speaker trying to overcome the problem. The A/V pros rushed her a handheld mic which she used until they came and wired her onstage with another lavaliere. Always awkward, yet I’ve seen many a speaker handle this situation with a sense of humor. In this case, the crew was professional, so where do those A/V gremlins come from anyway? Anybody got any ideas?
In another venue last year Deb and Dr. Karen Wolfe showed up early, as usual, for their sound check. They had meticulously choreographed their program together so it would be more like a conversation between them than two consecutive presentations, each half of the program. Of course, they had ordered two microphones. Unfortunately, the sound people couldn’t get the frequencies on the system to handle both mics. They ended up having to pass the lavaliere back and forth. This physical awkwardness spoiled the natural interaction. In this case, the facility was in a small town and simply wasn’t equipped for the job. Unfortunately, it did affect the quality of the program.
A glitch doesn’t always work against the speaker, however. On one occasion Dr. Wolfe’s PowerPoint projector went down in the middle of one of her programs at the National Wellness Institute conference, forcing her to deviate from her prepared script. As a result, I thought the program was better than it was with the A/V.
Zonya Foco walked into a luncheon presentation earlier this year, where the hotel meeting room was entirely walled by mirrors. She later reported that “This was not only a nightmare visually; the sound just bounced off the walls. It was so hard for people to hear, I felt sorry for them.” I guess that is part of my reason for writing this. That is, to let you know, that our speakers really want to bring value to you and your audiences. They travel to get there (that often includes its own challenges!), and bring their knowledge, talents, and sense of humor to your program, but there’s very little they can do about the venue, other than roll with the punches.
The proper A/V as requested by the speaker is critically important to the performance, especially live music. For that reason when booking musical performers, we always include specific A/V instructions with their contracts.
When a speaker asks for a CD player hooked into the sound system, that’s what she means (not a boom box). She is planning to use music in her presentation. You just can’t get the same emotional impact (or output) from a boom box. Now that is not to say that speakers don’t or won’t adapt. If they’re doing a retreat in a cabin, and there is no sound system, every professional speaker I represent adapts to the situation.
With her ever-present sense of humor Deb Gauldin, who sings and plays guitar in her programs, relates this experience:
“The facility for this event had been a church in a former lifetime and had been converted to a space referred to as a ballroom. It was hotter than blazes and the only relief for the attendees was to use my handout to fan themselves and attempt to hear me over the rattling of two enormous free standing air conditioning units flanking the ‘stage’ area. ‘I’m a professional, I can handle anything,’ was my
mantra all day.
“I called ahead to make sure they had a sound system in the wall. The staff at the ballroom said they sure did, not to worry! Someone had built a wooden cabinet about waist high with a lock on it. When the keeper of the keys finally arrived, and I was ready for a very belated sound check, it turned out the only things in the wall were the screws attached to the cabinet!
“Inside the box that was attached to the wall was a $29 Radio Shack microphone and tiny plug-in amp. Not quite compatible with my Madonna headset and wireless guitar pick up. I carried on, talking to myself as they passed around factory sized boxes of donuts while I was presenting. Good thing I am a professional, know how to find the humor, and really love what I do!”
A second point is, though, that as much as our speakers adapt to the situation, there is only so much they can do. In order to assure a successful event, the planning must include careful attention to the A/V requirements when selecting the venue and physical checks of the equipment as soon as you arrive for the event.
Consider this dialogue open. We’d love to hear your stories!
10 Instant ‘Youtheners’
by Victoria Moran
We’ve heard the old saw: “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.” Most of us are taking better care of ourselves these days and information about how to do that is coming at us from half the magazines on the newsstand, every health fair at the mall, and those good-looking doctors on the evening news. Still, a lot of the work we put into our health and longevity seems to have a delayed payoff. We’re hedging our bets that what we do today will make things better five, ten, or twenty years from now. We could use a little immediate gratification.
That’s where the 10 Instant ‘Youtheners’ come in. I devised this list to use for radio interviews in conjunction with my latest book Younger by the Day (HarperSanFrancisco). These are quick-payoff rejuvenators that can make us look or feel noticeably better in nearly no time and subsequently inspire us to stick with the other good habits that offer more long-term gains. They are:
1. Stand up straight. It will slim your waist and tummy, make your clothes hang better, and give you a more confident look.
2. Have a glass of water. Water is the difference between a plum and a prune. Get yourself hydrated.
3. Wear a pheromone fragrance. Pheromones, the just-below-the-radar scents that make us attractive to others, diminish in midlife. Some studies suggest that wearing a pheromone-imbued fragrance is a subtle way to mitigate the “invisibility” that can seem to accompany growing older. I make no claims, but I ordered some of the stuff and the doormen in my neighborhood do seem friendlier when I wear it.
4. Invert yourself. If you’re a yoga student, do a headstand or a shoulder stand. Otherwise, spend 3 to 5 minutes on a slantboard with your feet higher than your heart. You’ll feel relaxed, look refreshed, and get some color in your face. (There’s more information at http://www.ageinreverse.com.)
5. Cover your gray. Some women (and most men!) look sensational with silver hair; if you’re one of them, skip this. Otherwise, erase the gray, especially if you already color your hair and it’s time for a touchup. Use a high quality color like Aveda and protect your investment from the sun (a hat can protect your hair as well as your skin).
6. Get a brow arch. A good eyebrow arch (waxed or tweezed) can open your eyes and do more for a face than anything short of cosmetic surgery. Go to someone skilled at the practice at least once a season; you can keep up the good work with your own tweezers in between appointments.
7. Fit in 15 minutes of cardio. Hop on the treadmill, put on music and dance, or go outside and walk like you mean it. Although we should aim for 30 minutes a day for the sake of our hearts, just fifteen when you can grab those minutes increases your circulation (that will show on your face) and get those feel-good endorphins going (those will show in your day).
8. Do dry skin brushing. Before your a.m. shower, brush your body with a dry body brush (find one at your pharmacy or natural food store). Start with your feet and work up to your shoulders (this is not for the face). Dry skin brushing revs up circulation, warms you up on a cold morning, and European researchers insist that it can help mitigate cellulite.
9. Drink a glass of fresh juice. Freshly extracted vegetable juice is an infusion of vitamins and disease-preventing phytochemicals that are readily assimilated by your body. Try carrot/celery/beet or tomato/cucumber/lime.
10. Sit quietly and breathe. Even three deep breaths, in and out through your nose, can relieve stress and lower blood pressure. If you sit longer and watch your breath, you’re meditating, and studies have shown that meditators are physiologically younger than the rest of us.
Victoria Moran is the newest member of the SpeakWellBeing family. She is the author of ten books including Younger by the Day, Fit from Within, and the best-selling Creating a Charmed Life. A two-time Oprah! guest, Victoria shines as a keynoter with topics such as “TheFountain of Youth Is Up and Running” and “How to Create a Charmed Life Out of the One You’ve Got.” She lives in New York City.
For more information, please give us a call at 503-699-5031 or check our website.
As the head decision-maker for my wedding, I got to stand in your shoes as meeting planners. Probably the best thing I did was hire a wedding planner. That took me out of the minutiae and let me focus on the overall design of what I wanted to achieve, which was, of course, the more fun, creative aspect.
I knew I didn’t want to be in charge the day of the event. That was her job. I had other things to do. When the day came, I loved saying, “Ask Kate.” Naturally, not everything went as planned, and there were a few last minute surprises. But this is what I learned: the planning and attention to detail in preparation paid off, and the glitches went virtually unnoticed. Who cared if the florist forgot to prepare bouquets for two out of three of the attendants? We assembled some on the spot from the flowers for the friendship ritual. In the end, as speaker friend Sue Kirby says, “It Doesn’t Matter.” You know what? She’s right.
Until next time, take care of yourself, for your well being and those you love.
ABOUT OUR SERVICES
The Speak Well Being Group specializes in providing exceptional speakers for health, wellness and women’s events. Because we’ve worked with so many hospitals and healthcare groups around the country, we speak your language. Our hand-picked speakers are attuned to your needs and adept at addressing the issues while delivering information in an entertaining way, or simply providing a good time with a light message when that’s the ticket. When you work with us, you’ll come back for more “How are we going to top that?” speakers.
You’ll find many of our speakers on our website.
Or please call anytime and let us assist you: 503-699-5031