Don’t Drown Out the Speaker

When someone speaks, stop talking. You might miss something important.

Public speaking is a skill.  In order to hear someone speak, it requires your undivided attention.  When that doesn’t happen, then the code of civility is broken in my opinion.

DSM Magazine had their Fall issue unveiling on Thursday at Midwest Aesthetics and a large crowd was in attendance.  At 6:00 p.m., the short 10-minute program got underway with the staff from DSM talking. The problem was most of us couldn’t hear who was at the mic because the crowd in the back wouldn’t stop yapping.  In fact, they started to get louder.

After several attempts to quiet the crowd down, even a bad feedback from the microphone, it looked hopeless.

It’s a damn good thing I remembered to use my public address announcer voice.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, would you stop talking so that the lady can finish!”

It got quiet real fast.  Then a large smattering of applause rang out in approval of what I did.  Quite embarrassing if you asked me.  I would never imagined using an old skill I developed back in high school:  doing PA work for my high school basketball team.

Lawrence Tanter, the PA announcer for the Los Angeles Lakers. He's one of the best in the business, and he's a University of Dubuque grad.

I grew up listening to old-school public address announcers like Fr. Bob Holzhammer at Iowa, Bob Justis at UNI, and Lawrence Tanter with the Los Angeles Lakers.  PA announcers have a very important job:  announce the players, the fouls, who scored, and not draw attention to themselves like some of today’s version of PA announcers.  I understand that it’s their job to get the fans involved in the game, but fans are smart enough to know what’s going on during the game.

The audience should know when to stop talking when they see or hear someone behind a microphone talking.  It’s called giving the speaker your undivided attention.

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3 thoughts on “Don’t Drown Out the Speaker

  1. I had those little thoughts in my head, but I decided to keep it clean and say it as loud as I could. I scared a table full of women when I did it, and an older gentlemen in front of me gave me a five.

    You are right, Joe, that it should have not come down to me, or anyone else, to do it. I hope in the future that when someone approaches a microphone to address the crowd, we can dial down the chatter with respect and hold off talking until the speaker(s) are finished.

  2. I would have been tempted to stand behind the loud group in the back and shout to the speaker “Could you please speak up? I can’t hear you over the (insert favorite derogatory term) here in the back of the room.” It would seem that people are getting less respectful as time goes on. Blame it on the internet, texting, email…? Who can tell? Just a basic lack of manners.

  3. Word to this. Very well done.

    At a wedding last week, people were speaking very loudly during the best man and maid of honor speeches. Unreal scene.

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