Audiences often need guidance to ensure proper respect for the flag during both the playing of the National Anthem and the presentation of the colors by a color guard.
Simple instructions from the podium can help.
When playing the national anthem in a facility where the flag is permanently displayed, the announcer says, "Please rise for the playing of our National Anthem. Gentlemen, please remove your hats."
The audience rises and stands, faces the flag and places their right hands over their hearts. Cell phone conversations and texting, eating, and fussing with coats and other personal belongings should stop while everyone stands facing the flag either in silence or by joining in singing. Latecomers should not enter the room until after the anthem is completed. People walking on concourses or on their way to their seats should stop and participate, continuing on after the anthem is complete.
When a color guard is presenting the flag, guide the audience from the podium by saying, "Please rise for the presentation of the colors followed by our National Anthem. Gentlemen, please remove your hats. Please remain standing until the color guard exits the hall." As the color guard approaches everyone stands quietly facing the flag. As the flag approaches, all persons stand at attention with the right hand over the heart. Members of the military render a salute. The signal to begin playing the anthem occurs when all flags are dipped except for the American flag. At that point, the music starts and the audience remains standing with right hands over hearts throughout the song.
Everyone then remains at attention while the flag is either posted or exits the room. Signal the audience to remain quietly standing by making certain the emcee and platform party (if during an academic ceremony) know to remain at attention until the color guard has exited the hall and is completely out of sight. At that point, the announcer might indicate completion by saying, "Please be seated."