using a microphone

Top tips for using a microphone at a conference

While there are a lot of resources on how you can become a great public speaker, the technical aspects of presenting is often neglected. Have you ever witnessed a presenter trip over the cord of their microphone like a circus performer?  Or perhaps you can recall that high pitched interference squeal or ‘spitting’ sound that are the result of poor microphone skills. Don’t let this be you!  Make certain that all technical aspects of your presentation are thought through and that you have assistance standing by.

For those unaccustomed, it can be difficult to behave naturally with a microphone. Here are some tips for you…

  1. Wear the right clothes. Clip-on microphones should be clipped onto your belt, so remember to wear a belt. Remember to thread the cord through your shirt and tuck the surplus cords into your trousers or skirt so they don’t flap all over the pace or look messy over your clothes. ‘God is in the detail’.
  2. Place it correctly. Keep the head of the microphone low enough to avoid the ‘spitting’ sounds, but high enough so it projects your voice. (Roughly 10-15 centimeters from the tip of your chin).
  3. Have your own. If you can afford it – buy your own microphone that you can clip into the battery pack provided by Staging Connection or equivalent. If possible buy the ones that make you look like Madonna. You get them from Countryman Associates Inc. and they have a superior sound to the little black fuzzy ones that you typically get when you hire a microphone.

Tip: You may need to tape the microphone to the back of your head with light-weight surgical tape so it doesn’t swing around as you speak.

Related: Are you guilty of Death By PowerPoint?

  1. Remember to mute! Check where the on/off and mute buttons are. Remember to ‘mute’ the sound if you go to the toilet! I’ll never forget the embarrassment suffered by a colleague of mine when he entertained the audience with his ‘trickling sounds’!
  2. Have a back-up. You are the presenter, so you control your space. If something goes wrong with your microphone, don’t ignore it and hope it will go away. Have a back-up on hand (either another lapel microphone or a hand-held microphone) that you can use immediately.
  3. Manage the frequencies. Ensure that if there is more than one microphone, the speakers are tuned in to different frequencies.  When you are rehearsing, check where you can and can’t walk without that piercing ‘squeal’ deafening your audience.
  4. Transition seamlessly. If you have more than one presenter, have two microphones and have the second speaker ‘wired up’ well before you end your presentation. A seamless transition from one speaker to another often goes unnoticed.  A messy transition will have you looking unprofessional and disrespectful to your audience.

Let the lapel microphone do it’s job to make your performance easier for you and your audience!

Happy presenting!

Share this post