Pumping DOWN the Volume

People talk at gatherings. But loud audio can kill the mood and reduce networking effectiveness of face to face events. Take it down a notch or two, so people can hear themselves think and hear their new connection introduce themselves.

Audio Mixer
Ensure ambient audio is not louder than people networking.

Meeting planners spend a fair amount of time and energy thinking about how an event space will look. But how many meeting or event planners think about how an event space will sound?

I confess I have a bit of an ax to grind here. As a speaker I communicate verbally, so the acoustic properties of a space are important to me. The better the acoustics and the sound system, the easier it is for me to connect with my audience. But this is not just me — most of the attendee “connecting” at your event happens via human speech, and for that to occur optimally the acoustics become very important.

Unfortunately, many times an event space is overly loud, and a great deal of the audio communication “bandwidth” is no longer available. If the general “ambient noise” of a room is too loud, either because of an overzealous DJ or because there are 200 people in a very echoey small room, that means people have to shout instead of talk — and even then, it’s difficult to hear or be heard. This of course hampers communication.

When I appear at an event, I tried as best I can to “add value” by making myself available for individual chitchat during down times and the social events (I’m as eager to hobnob and network as anyone), but I can’t afford to shout for an hour or two at a loud party. It kills my vocal chords, and I need them for my next presentation.

One of the biggest draws of live events is the fabulous value in making those personal connections and contacts. If the room is too loud, while it may seem like there’s a lot of “energy” in the room person-to-person communication is being hindered. That is a real loss of value. You can see how a room will look in an individual walkthrough, but the way it will sound is a little harder to tell.

You certainly would not create an event space that had glaring bright lights in everyone’s eyes, nor would you ever have an all Day-Glo orange theme. That sort of “visual overload” would certainly be seen as unappealing, not to mention exhausting, and potentially even harmful. You would never think of doing such things to your attendees’ eyes. You should take care to not to overload their ears, either.

Photo by tianhua1993
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Justin Locke is an entertaining speaker. He recently appeared as an "[email protected]" Justin is also an author and playwright; his musical plays are performed all over the world. Before becoming a full time speaker, Justin spent 18 seasons playing the bass with the Boston Pops. In his presentations, he shares truly laugh-out-loud tales of concert disasters, as well as unique insight into the leadership and team dynamics of major orchestras. Justin is the author of Principles of Applied Stupidity