Creative Leadership

Why The Sound Engineer Is Incredibly Important To A Speaker

Obviously a good audio engineer is important to a speaker because great sound is critical to the success of a presentation. That’s why professional speakers, teachers, or preachers invest in a professional sound crew whenever possible. But there’s another – perhaps even more important – reason that a good sound person is critical:

He or she is often the last person a speaker talks to before taking the stage.

I speak at conferences and events around the world, so I get a pretty good idea of what matters to speakers – particularly in unusual or new situations – and here’s what I’ve found:

Sound professionals are critically important to the emotional well being of a speaker. In some situations, he or she comes up to me before speaking, and just hands me a microphone. No comment, no assistance, and no advice. So especially with a headset microphone, I struggle to get it on, and then worry about whether the microphone is in the right place or not, and then wonder if it will slide around.

Not a terribly confident place to be before I walk onto the stage.

But in the best situations, a good sound professional helps me with the microphone, stays to make sure it’s fitted properly (especially with a headset mic), has some tape if necessary, and answers my questions about how it works. Then he or she will often say something like, “We’re very excited to hear your presentation,” or “We’ve been waiting a long time for this event.”

Motivating? You bet. Confidence building? Heck yeah.

Sound engineers? Your role is far more important than audio levels, EQ, and running a sound board.

Conference directors, pastors, and leaders? Make sure you share this with your sound team. Encourage them. Let them know what they do is important – perhaps the most critical thing that will happen before a guest speaker takes the stage.

Related Articles


  1. Preach that sermon Phil! I once had a sound guy strap the wireless mic on me and then left me to figure out if it was on or not…and there were like 5 buttons on the thing. I couldn’t test it because someone else was speaking. I shouldn’t have been thinking about my mic…I should have been thinking about my talk!
    Juxtapose that with the sound gal at my next stop who had water ready for me in addition to telling me that everything was set and ready for me. I was ready to roll, and the talk started much more smoothly as a result.
    I love great customer service, and she was awesome. Makes such a difference!

  2. This is so true Phil. As a speaker it is so good important I feel relaxed in regards to the sound and how the microphone is working. This shows how important the sound personreally is.

  3. This is right on! Between the local church I lead and the traveling that I do to speak, I’m speaking multiple days a week. A sound tech that is not properly trained can easily be my greatest obstacle to the assignment before me. When I can’t hear myself, when I wonder if the audience is hearing me properly, when I loose the ability to speak with voice inflection, then the talk is never to the level it could be. Plus, I wear out my voice. I love it when sound tech’s understand they are as important to the declaration of the gospel as the speaker. Great article!

  4. This is very accurate and I appreciate the reminder for me, as a speaker, to be grateful for the care and help I receive from our sound experts. Thank you, Phil.

  5. Yes, the sound technicians are very important. But I’ve seen (possibly nervous) people treat them like servants, or even annoyances. Even if the equipment is familiar to you, unless you actually know how it works IN THAT SPACE you don’t know how it works at all.
    In the theater, you quickly learn that there are two people you never want to make a bad impression on: sound: the person who hands you your mic, and wardrobe: the person who hands you your pants. Nobody makes more of a difference to your performance on any given night.

  6. Agree, they can make or break you!
    Trust it was a good experience here at City Impact Church – was for us!

    1. I actually wrote that post because of the EXCELLENT work your sound team did when I spoke at City Impact Church in Auckland this week. In fact, your ENTIRE team is amazing. Thanks for the opportunity to work and speak into their lives…

  7. Great reminder Phil! A speech is only effective if the audience can hear it and it’s free from distracting sound issues. And there’s nothing more comforting than a supportive and encouraging team behind the scenes. I also agree wholeheartedly with Fred’s response – it’s important we treat them with respect and appreciation in return.

  8. I think I have learned something here. We are having problems with our speakers and the engine. Last week, the outgoing Area Pastor complained and gave us the cost of one speaker, as well as the cost of the engine for volunteers to buy. Frankly speaking, we hardly understood what the church choir were singing.
    When I shared my testimony, I stretched my voice in order to be heard. On Sunday, I will get in touch with the sound engineer.
    Thanks a lot for sharing this timely and great post Phil.

  9. This is so true. The sound engineers are my knights-in-shining-armor, and have the ability to make my talks excel or tank in a matter of moments. Headset constantly slipping? Totally breaks my concentration. Horrible hot mic or speakers popping that makes the audience wince in pain while covering their ears? Hard to recover from that.

    But the words of encouragement at the last minute really do mean so much. I can only imagine how crazy their jobs are, and at most conferences they are responsible for covering a variety of different people/responsibilities on without much time to spare. But that quick word of assurance that everything tech-related is under control helps SO much…

Leave a Reply to Phil Cooke Cancel reply

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker