a general rule of thumb when it comes to working with a microphone…
always believe the mic is live.
concept is designed to help avoid embarrassment. No one wants
to say something they don’t want to have heard via mass distribution,
only to find it broadcast live or recorded and played forever.
So if you approach the microphone in front of you as if it is
on, and always treat it that way, the end result should become
that you’ll avoid potential dangers that could be caused by a
casual approach to your surroundings.
instance, let’s say you just moved to a new place. Brand new state.
You are hundreds of miles away from where you used to live, haven’t
really established any reliable contacts, and you need to get
your car registered and inspected.
first place you go to ends up being bad. I mean frustratingly
bad. For whatever reason, you leave with a comically bad experience
you are going to be sharing with family and friends and co-workers
and more for decades.
next morning, you and your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/roommate
head out for breakfast. You stop in a small place that you enjoyed
months ago when in the area scouting things out and house hunting
ahead of the move. (Great home fries. The home fries got you hooked.
You knew you had to return.) During the morning conversation,
the subject comes up. Then the waitress arrives to refill your
“Hey, maybe you’d know.”
pretty new around here. Are there any good service stations
around for car repairs?”
do you need done?”
so get this. Yesterday I stopped at this shop over on Main Street
next to the convenience store. I needed to get the car inspected,
and the owner comes out and says fill-in-the-incompetence. Couldn’t
it your fault your waitress is married to the owner of the service
station? What are the odds?
those of you that have ever tasted your own foot, you’re probably
nodding while thinking those odds are better than most might think.
Happens, especially in small towns, all the time.
how about a real situation instead of that created example?
few days ago, Terry and I needed to exchange some information
with someone. The reason for the call is unimportant. What does
The person didn’t answer, so Terry left a voice mail.
The person seemingly made the return call while driving.
The person used a speakerphone or hands-free option.
Terry had been unable to answer, so the return call turned into
leaving a voice mail for Terry. The voice mail wasn’t closed
immediately after saying goodbye because the phone didn’t end
the call… like the person thought.
Of course… the voice mail we received wrapped up with a short
tirade (swears included) about how people bother this person
with useless phone calls.
sure… when viewing the whole thing in a big picture way, it’s
kind of hysterical. Still, as you can imagine, we were none too
thrilled by the message and have even listened to it a couple
of times. We have yet to decide how (and, even if) we are going
to tell the person what happened. Suffice to say we won’t be trusting
the person with a lot, offering up referrals, or acting generously
with our contributions.
of the funny things is that there are plenty of examples where
people have been caught and tripped up by microphones that transmitted
every word… even the casual, just between you and me ones. Like
the breakfast setting from a few moments ago, it doesn’t even
need to be a microphone. More than enough examples exist that
you would think that most people would learn a valuable lesson
about surroundings. Figuratively (and literally)…
of the situation… regardless of any warning signs… treat the microphone
as if it is on. Don’t believe the sign on the wall. Don’t believe
the little red light. Don’t even look down at the switches and
knobs and more and get tripped up because it’s flipped to off
or the volume appears set at zero or whatever.
to behave accordingly, at all times, and you will avoid a lot
of potentially embarrassing and difficult situations.
all seen problems created by combinations of stupidity, ignorance,
and any other mix of factors…
click “reply to all” on an e-mail.
don’t recognize their audience.
forget cell phones come with cameras.
live in a world where people arrive for their court appearances
drunk… call 911 because their fast food order wasn’t prepared
correctly… hear Ronald Reagan outlaw the Soviet Union… and more.
worst of all, when these crazy things happen, quite often there
is a pause as they consider their defense. Why? Because it couldn’t
possibly be their fault or that they are responsible for what
you are planning to do something that seems dumb… dumb enough
that someone could get hurt… and one of your friends pulls out
a camera to record the moment… that should all come together in
a blinding realization that the results are going wind up on YouTube,
and not because they were successful.
yet… even then… I don’t know if some of those tremendously entertaining
moments fall to levels of genius we see in people that could have
avoided specific mishaps. Again… learn to behave accordingly.
microphone is always live.