Skip to main content
The Works

Can they hear you OK?

By August 30, 2022September 21st, 2022No Comments

Ears for listening

Can they hear you OK?


This is a joke that never seems to 1. get old or 2. be particularly funny.

Person asks another person for directions: “Can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?”
Other person, who happens to be a maestro of some sort: “Yes! Practice.”

I’ve not even been that clear on what’s so special about Carnegie Hall anyway. Isn’t it just another place to listen to music in New York City?

Turns out, it’s more than that. It’s not just a famous place to play (everyone from Mark Twain to Nina Simone to Led Zeppelin have been on the bill), but it’s also a brilliant place to play (fabulous acoustics).

And just what makes for fabulous acoustics?
There are two types of halls, basically. There are ones with plenty of reverberation. These halls tend to be echo-y and swallow-y. Kind of soupy. Then there are halls that are clear and crisp—but these tend to be dry. Carnegie? The best of both worlds. The hall is reverb-y, but not soupy. It is clear and crisp, but not dry.

If you want to be heard, you’ve got to find your perfect, Carnegie Hall, tone. What’s your message? And how do you get it across to the world clear, crisp, but not dry and boring?

Want The Works in your inbox?
Sign up (free) here
Michael Bungay Stanier

Michael Bungay Stanier

I'm the author of five books that have collectively sold more than a million copies. I'm the founder of Box of Crayons, a learning and development company that helps organizations move from advice-driven to curiosity-led. I'm the host of the *2 Pages with MBS* podcast.