In the electronics field, let's consider a stereo
receiver for example, the term "dynamic range" is defined as the range
in signal strength levels between the loudest, undistorted signal (being received and processed
as sound (music, speech, etc.) and the background
noise level of the receiver (when no audio signal is being processed). So how is
the term "dynamic range"
relevant to public speaking?
I invented the concept of Dynamic Range in public speaking to help you
improve your versatility as a business presenter, and to help you pick
appropriate audiences for your skill and interest level (Did he say
"pick" my audiences?). Yes, I did say pick your audiences.
Some of you may not have this luxury because you must speak as part of your job,
but those of you that do, will move up faster in the speaking world. When you
are a beginning public speaker it is important for you to experience different
types of audiences just FOR the experience. You will find that you enjoy certain
types of audiences more than others, and certain types of audiences enjoy you
more too. As you climb the public speaking ladder where the audiences are
bigger, or more important to your career, and the stakes are higher, you must
learn to just say no.
Most top public speakers don't accept every request to speak even if they are
available, and the money is right. They pick their speaking engagements to put
themselves in front of audiences whose profiles indicate the greatest chance of
success. If you are a highly technical presenter, you would not want to be
speaking to a widget sales group at their annual retreat. Conversely, as a
really fun retreat facilitator, you would not want to be speaking to a group of
radar technicians who are only interested in performance data of the latest
missile protection system.
You knowledge of your own Dynamic Range when speaking in public will help you
learn to pick your audiences and how to expand your abilities so you are capable
of handling a wider range of audiences.
I based the concept of Dynamic Range in public speaking on the same concept
that is used to rate stereo equipment. Dynamic range in the electronics world
means the ability to reproduce soft sounds as well as loud ones. I have expanded
on this to include several other parameters that are important to a speaker.
- Serious/Outrageous Content,
- Slow/Fast Speed of Delivery,
- Slurred/Articulate Diction,
- Stationary/Animated Movement, and
- Audience Needs.
The first step to use this system is to evaluate yourself on each parameter.
Many people have trouble with this, so it might be time to call in an objective
third party like a coach or other accomplished presenter to watch you present or
to review several of your tapes. Try to avoid using friends for this initial
evaluation because they will be reluctant to tell you the truth.
Here are some ways you can increase your range in a hurry.
- If your material is all serious, add some that is lighthearted and vice
- If you always speak softly, speak loudly sometimes and vice versa.
- Always work to improve your diction, but allow it to falter in front of
less articulate audiences.
- If you always stand still, move sometimes and vice versa.
If you have the option, pick audiences that give you the greatest chance of