Six Tips for Effectively Using a Megaphone at Protests

Protesting is one of the most effective forms of activism because it accomplishes two goals at once. Posters, leaflets, and speeches are helpful for informing shoppers and pedestrians about animal rights issues at a protest, and holding one in a strategically chosen location can help convince a company or a decisionmaker to make changes that benefit animals.

Using a megaphone can be a great way to apply more pressure on your target and reach more people with your message. Here are six tips to help you use a megaphone to its full potential.

Person holding a megaphone and holding a protest sign
PETA protest at Hallmark in the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Mo. by Christopher Smith
  1. Determine whether a megaphone is right for your event.

A megaphone isn’t right for every event. Never use one when animals are in the vicinity, as in protests at pet stores, roadside zoos, or sites offering horse-drawn carriage rides. If you decide that a megaphone is right for your event, be sure to obtain a permit for amplified sound if you need one.

  1. Prepare chants and speeches ahead of time.

It’s crucial that people using a megaphone know what they’re going to say and when they’re going to say it. As an activist, you’re challenging commonly held beliefs and won’t be taken seriously if you can’t clearly communicate what you’re protesting and why it’s important. Speeches should be written, edited, and rehearsed prior to an event. Chants should be selected before the event and rehearsed as a group before the protest starts. Chants such as “There’s no excuse for animal abuse” can be used at every animal rights demo, but it’s also important to include some chants that are specific to your target and the reason for the protest. For example, when PETA protested Starbucks for charging extra for vegan milk, we used the chant “Save the planet! Save the cows! Stop the vegan upcharge now!”

  1. Share the chants with your group before the event.

Give your fellow activists an idea of what to expect by posting the list of chants on the event’s webpage, taping chants to the back of your demo posters, or sharing them in a group chat. It’s also helpful to gather the group before the demo begins to go over the chants.

  1. Speak calmly and clearly.

Screaming into a megaphone distorts the sound and makes it harder for people to understand what you’re saying. Since the person using the megaphone will have more of the public’s attention, it’s important that they speak calmly, clearly, and confidently.

  1. Watch where you’re aiming that thing.

Be mindful of your surroundings. Never point a megaphone at other activists, dogs, pedestrians, children, open car windows, etc. Also, be careful not to aim it at the ground—this is particularly important to consider if you’ll be reading. In that case, print out the speech and tape it to the back of your demo poster. Ideally, the megaphone will be tilted up into the air whenever it’s being used.

  1. Never speak to an individual through a megaphone.

When amplifying your voice, remember that it can be heard by all employees, passersby, and activists in the vicinity. Everything said should apply to everyone who can hear it. Having a conversation or an argument with one person while using a megaphone is unprofessional.

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