Tools for Public Speakers
What does a speaker need to do his or her job? Whether you have a magnificent home studio or are working at your dining room table, be sure to have the best equipment you can afford.
This list isn’t comprehensive. Feel free to contact me with additions.
Lighting. When you are setting up a home studio, good lighting matters. Without it, your skin tone will look funky, strange shadows will surround you, and you won’t look at professional onscreen.
Green screen. You don’t need to make a movie to use a green screen. It merely allows another image to appear behind you. With one, you can control what the audience sees.
Microphone. You need to be heard. The mic on your computer is adequate for Skyping your Aunt Gertrude, but not for a Zoom conference with a hundred people. This is definitely a “get what you pay for” thing. It is an essential tool, however. Just as with the camera on your computer, the mic installed with it is weak. Your voice will not have its natural resonance. With a good mic, you can screen out background noise as well as capture the real you. If you want to project intimacy with your audience, pony up.
Camera. You need at least a good web cam. If you are doing video regularly, upgrade accordingly. Unless looking like the guy who did the Numa Numa video many years ago is your goal, this is important. If you are serious about video, you’ll need to invest. The sky is the limit, so if you really mean business, consult with a videographer. Otherwise, check the links below.
To Your Health
I’m not a doctor, but most of this should go without saying. I’ll say it anyway.
Water. Yes, water is a tool. Drink lots. It is not only good for your voice, but it will help you remember, physically endure a long day, and generally will allow a better, happier life. A no-brainer? It should be, but client after client tells me they don’t drink enough pure water. See the link for several water bottles I recommend. These are marked to remind you each hour to drink. Use a coffee mug. Drink up.
Exercise. Are you fit? Look at the great speakers. They are. Myself — I’m a runner. I am at my best after a run. Catch my breath, take a shower, hydrate, and I’m ready to write. You might be a walker or Ironman. What matters is that you get aerobic exercise. Do more if you can.
Get a treadmill, bicycle, or just a pair of good shoes and go for a brisk walk.
Sleep. Again, this is a well-known fact but numerous people don’t get the sleep they need. How much? That depends, of course. But, if, when you drink caffeine, you are able to go to sleep, consider that an indication. Your caffeine tolerance is high. Your sleep quality will be poor. What should you do? Limit your caffeine to no later than 2 p.m. Get to bed without electronic devices (tablets, etc.). Make it happen. To have that engaging edge speakers need, a good night’s rest is non-negotiable.