learn to project, but don’t expect to defy physics

A colleague passed along some interesting tips for doing good presentations.  These were originally written by Cory Doctorow.  No 10 states:

“Visualize your voice. Imagine your voice is a laser and try to project it strongly to the opposite wall”

I try to do this and I think I am pretty good at projecting my voice and filling a room.  However, some evaluations I got from a recent presentation remind me that while I can project all I want, I’m not going to defy physics.

Sound diminishes by the increase in distance squared.  That is, if someone is 2 feet away, the volume of my voice reaching them is 4 times (2^2) lower than someone 1 foot away.  You figure that some presentation rooms are 20, 30, even 40′ deep at a small conference, and one’s voice can get awfully quiet to those in the back of the room.

The specific comment was about how there was a fan in the room creating constant noise (and the fan was part of an HVAC system far, far larger than my own, lung-based air-exchange system) drowned out my voice.  How there was a preference that I use the microphone available (and even pass that mic around to others).

I had felt I did a pretty good job projecting and I could hear most others quite well.

This is a short post.  It’s just a remark on my own “revelation” that no matter how much I try to hit that back wall with my voice, how booming I think I am, and how clear I think my voice is that particular day (because sometimes we are a bit hoarse, after all), I cannot defy physics.

So I need to get over it and use the mic…