I was the after lunch speaker at a networking event. During the lunch hour, the emcee announced, “Now for the fun part! Lets go around the room and briefly introduce ourselves.”
The first thing wrong here is the word “briefly.” We all know that the farther around the circle we go, the more lengthy and unfocused the introductions become, and I know from experience that this emcee will do nothing to keep the comments uniformly brief. I can already foresee that my speaking time will be cut. And it was.
The second thing wrong is that everyone was using the same hand-held microphone that I’d be using. People have been running their hands through their hair, removing fish bones from their mouth, coughing and sneezing, and who knows what else (some having just returned from the bathroom).
This mic is teeming with germs, and when I hold it, within seconds my hand will BURN as if exposed to hazardous waste. And, because of the lunch consisting of onions, garlic, kimchi, and fish, I can only imagine how the business end of the mic will smell. Ugh, ugh, ugh!
What could I have done? I could have worn gloves as part of my ensemble. I could have brought latex gloves and snapped them on as if getting ready for surgery. I could have wrapped the mic in a protective cloth napkin.
What I did: “There’s something sticky on this mic. Could someone please bring me a wet napkin?” After receiving said napkin, I casually walked over to the lectern pretending I needed something I had left there. This gave me the opportunity to wipe the whole thing as I crouched down to pluck some (unnecessary) papers from my briefcase.
The last time this happened, there was a break between the time the mic was passed from hand to hand, and the time I was to start speaking into it. Holding the mic gingerly between thumb and forefinger, I approached one of the A/V personnel and asked him to sanitize the mic. He understood instantly and took it to the kitchen.
Holding a clean mic is as refreshing as washing your hands after a morning of errands. Now I bring disinfecting wipes and I’m discreet. But if someone catches me in the act, I’ll smile and say, “Don’t mind me! I’m paranoid about germs.”