I had to do some public speaking today for work. I do not mind speaking publicly. Crowds can be large or small, I don’t usually get that nervous. I may be afraid of my own shadow, but for some reason I can handle speaking. My only pet peeve about the task at hand is the podium. I hate podiums. I am 5’0” tall. This makes me as tall as your average podium. Today, everything would have been fine, but for the podium and its dreaded attached, and not so adjustable, microphone.
I was introduced. Then approached the podium. I then adjusted the microphone only to have it be held by the person who introduced me. I am not sure where she thought it was going to go, or why she thought I could not handle holding it down myself. I do have two degrees and a few certifications. These facts were not good enough for her. She would not let go and we were in front of well over 150 people. I went with it. I pushed myself up on my tip toes (where is a Yellowpages when you actually need one) and said my piece. I was squeezed into the program, so it had to be quick. I was two minutes and done. There was just no avoiding the podium and the smelly lady holding the mic.
Now, I have deftly avoided podiums in the past. Especially when I am setting up and running the program. I push those babies away into corners. Or I stand beside it, coquettishly, with a hand held microphone. The podium becoming a sexy lamppost if you will. I dream of the day when podiums are adjustable, like the seats at the gym. Ratcheting the desk-like part up and down to each person’s preferred height. Yeah, that would be cool. I think the ultimate would be the basic award show set up. The microphones come out of the floor, adjusting to the appropriate height for the speaker, in a podium free environment. Magic. Oh, dare to dream. Then, of course, your television interview set up with the clip-on microphone. You would think that with all the micro-computing advancement in the last 10 years we would have found a solution for this presentation problem by now. Short people need to rise up together and make this a priority.
I guess we lose the formality if we lose the podium. Yes, but so what, the woman or man with the microphone has the power, right? I think Madonna has proven this to be true. People need anchors, though, something to hold on to. Especially those not as confident as Madonna, a woman who can speak both American and British English depending on which side of the Atlantic Ocean she is on. With no podium, there would be great confusion over where to stand or whether or not dancing would be required. There also is no place to place your papers or document to read. I can see the pros and cons. Again, I think that adjustable podium might just be the solution. Either way, let us remember some of the greatest speakers and speeches of all time were given sans podium and microphone. Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address given in the middle of battlefield. Vince Lombardi inspiring his team to victories. Neil Armstrong landing on the moon. There are countless others throughout history.
Here’s to ‘dropping the mic’…and the podium. ::Thump::