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Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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Why You Need a Professional Sound Tech If You Give Presentations

 

Do you give presentations at small venues, hotels, or conference rooms? If you’re giving presentations anywhere, you need a professional sound tech.

 

Regardless of what you may have read, it’s not easy to be your own sound tech. In fact, most people who take a DIY approach to sound end up with feedback, volume, and distortion problems that disrupt the presentation. You can buy the best quality audio equipment on the market, but you’ll still need a professional sound tech to piece it all together and run your presentation.

 

Avoid DIY audio tech to maintain credibility

If you take a DIY approach to audio, use caution; a new study conducted by USC and the Australian National University found that audio quality can influence your credibility. Poor audio quality can drastically reduce an audience’s tendency to believe what they hear.

 

The study concluded that when people struggle to process information, they develop a distrust of the speaker – even when the speaker has scientific or academic credentials.

 

Creating the right acoustics in a room is essential if you want your audience to retain your message and take you seriously.

 

Good vs. bad sound isn’t always obvious

You may not realize you’re producing bad sound. You might be used to brushing off feedback and distortion and just plowing through a presentation as if nothing happened. Or, you may not be in a position to hear how your voice is being heard through the speakers in the back of the room.

 

A sound tech will treat the room prior to your presentation. This will help you avoid the poor sound that can alienate a portion of your audience. Poor audio can induce frustration, agitation, and headaches, and will drive some people crazy.

 

If you video recording your presentations, you need a sound tech

If you video record your presentations to publish on YouTube or anywhere else, you absolutely need a sound tech. Even when your audience is able to hear you in the room, that clarity won’t necessarily translate to the video recording. In this situation, you’ll want an audio and video tech.

 

When video recording a presentation, every aspect of sound matters. For example, microphone placement can determine the clarity of your voice and the wrong placement can create distortion. You’ll also need a sound tech to make sure you’re using the right kind of microphone. There are microphones that pick up sound from all angles (omnidirectional) and other microphones that only pick up sound that directly faces the capsule. Both serve a specific purpose and are used in different ways.

 

Even if you’ve figured out how to use a microphone, there are other aspects to sound that are a bit more complex to deal with. For example, signal to noise ratio, room tone, distortion, fidelity, volume levels, and dealing with pre-recorded sound. You might also need to use sound panels, in which case, it’s cheaper to make your own.

 

Bad audio will kill your video presentation

If your presentation was a hit in person, that doesn’t mean it will be a hit on YouTube. Bad audio will kill your video and may even cost you subscribers.

 

If you record your speaking engagements, make sure you hire an audio expert and videographer. If you’re on a strict budget, look for a videographer with some level of audio expertise. Videographers usually need to learn quite a bit about audio in order to do their work. While not all videographers are perfect sound techs, many will know enough to produce decent sound.

 

However, the best videographers always work with sound techs. It’s just not possible for one person to pay attention to both video and sound at the same time. Even if you manage to find a videographer who is also an expert sound tech, it will be hard for them to do two jobs at once.

 

The best benefit to hiring a professional sound tech is getting access to high-quality equipment. Sometimes a sound tech will require you to rent the equipment closer to your speaking location, but sometimes they will bring their own equipment. Renting larger pieces of audio equipment is often cheaper and easier for the tech, so don’t let that be a barrier. 

 

If you can only have one tech, choose the sound tech

If your budget only allows for one tech, choose the sound tech. You can set up a basic camera in the back of the room and have the sound tech create the audio to work with your device. If your sound is good, decent video quality will suffice.

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