Handling The Microphone Properly For Efficient Public Speaking.
I was hosting this wedding reception party with about 1000 guests in Lagos, Nigeria. Everything was coming along fine. The ambiance was beautiful, the sound was right. The high table was filled up, the couple had made their grand entrance, and it was now time to hear from the Chairman of the day.
After doing a good job with a superb introduction of the Chairman, and getting the guests hyped up in anticipation of the words of wisdom they were about to hear from this man of repute, I humbly handed the microphone over to him.
He speaks his first words, and sssssshhh, we heard nothing. I motioned to the sound engineers to rectify this real quick. With a confused look on their face, they waved at me saying all was fine.
I took the mic from the Chairman, tested with my voice. Voila! It worked! I handed it back to Mr Chairman, and Oops! Same thing, we could hardly hear a thing.
To avoid the tension which was already building, he continued with his speech, which lasted a couple of minutes (which a lot of people couldn’t hear). When he was done, he handed the mic back to me, and the next words from my mouth came out real loud.
No matter how rich the content of your speech is, if your audience cannot hear it, it is worthless
Wouldn’t it be a little embarrassing that a particular mic will “choose not to amplify your voice”? Let’s assume that isn’t, how about the pain of not getting your well composed script communicated to your audience, just because you couldn’t use your TOOL (the microphone) to your advantage.
You might have experienced or witnessed something similar.
I’m sure you don’t want to find yourself in these shoes, so learning how to properly handle a mic as a public speaker, is as important (if not more important) as the content of the message you need to share.
Here are my 3 Tips on how to handle that mic when next you have to use one.
1. Get Familiar. Understand the Type of Microphone
It is important to get familiar the type of mic and how it works. Is it a handheld microphone, lectern microphone or a lavaliere microphone? Whichever the case, remember that the best quality of sound is right at the center of the mic.
Since holding a handheld micr directly in front of your mouth could cause a barrier between you and your audience, it’s advisable to hold it at about 45 degree angle away from your mouth making the top of the microphone point to your nose. Ensure it is not far away from your mouth. Keeping it too close could also make your voice sound muffled.
Using a lectern microphone? Ensure you have your mouth angled towards the microphone. This type of microphone actually does restrict movement, but if you need to move, you could. Basic rule – Move your body, but keep your mouth facing the microphone.
For lavaliere microphones, It is best clipped to your shirt (not too low, not to high). Avoid tapping of your chest and related gesticulations, as it can pick such sounds won’t be friendly to the ears
I’ll share in details about the best way to use the different types of microphone in a future article.
2. Project Your Voice
Unfortunately, the microphone cannot help you project. Neither can it make your boring voice sound interesting. It can only make your voice louder. You have to do the rest yourself. This is what played out in the experience I shared earlier.
Apply about the same energy you would have needed to address that audience without the use of a microphone. This depends on how loud your voice naturally is, though. Do not shout into it, or you’ll lose your voice too soon.
3. Do not put the microphone too close to your mouth
This will cause your voice to sound muffled. It can also create ‘pop’ sounds and sometimes screeching feedback, which no audience loves to hear.
The next time you have to handle that microphone to speak, and knock it off like a pro.
I’m sure you have other tips on how you handle the microphone for Public Speaking, please drop a comment below. I’ll love to read from you.