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.