Attend networking events and before long you will have the opportunity to introduce yourself to a crowd.  While what you say is very important, how you say it will determine if your carefully crafted message (your Magical Networking Moment) will be heard.  It’s not as simple as speaking loudly enough to be heard.

Most people intuitively know that they must speak up in front of a crowd, especially in a large room without a microphone.  But even the most seasoned speaker has limited experience with different acoustical characteristics. Flooring, ceiling material, furnishings, and wall coverings play a role in how well your voice will carry in a room.

A good rule of thumb is to remember that the harder the surface, the more your voice will carry and be reflected.  You will need to speak louder in rooms with carpet, soft wall coverings, abundant plush seating, and textured ceiling tile since these materials will absorb sound.  Conversely, you will speak softer and more slowly in a school cafeteria where you will find hard floors, chairs, tables, and ceiling materials since your voice will carry and even echo is some situations.

Regardless of venue, every event has its share of soft-spoken folks who fail to be heard. Here are a few tips to ensure that you will be heard every time you introduce yourself.

1.    Get there early.  If you arrive early you can test your voice in the room.  This will ensure that you will be loud enough, but it will also ensure that you won’t be too loud too.
2.    Choose your seat carefully.  Choose a seat near the front of the room or at least on the perimeter of the crowd.  You don’t want to have your back to anyone.
3.    Be ready when it is your turn and stand up.  Read my previous articles on Stand, Pause, Breathe, Lean Forward, and Speak Loud Enough to be Heard.
4.    Slow down!  Most people speak too fast and therefore do not enunciate properly.  While you know exactly what you are talking about, the audience doesn’t.  Give the listener time to grasp what you are saying.
5.    Remember that less is more.  Give the audience only one or two points to remember. Chances are they will not remember much.

It is important to remember your goal.  You want others to come up to you and ask for more information.  You cannot and should not try to be all things to all people.  If you carefully craft your message and deliver it with the proper volume and pace, you will find that you will attract all the right people.  Following the tips above will ensure that the right people will hear you in every crowd.