Using a microphone is, for some business presenters, a worst nightmare situation. All those nervous breaths, mumbles and stutters amplified. For others, presenting with a microphone is a dreamlike scenario, a real problem solver. The audience will definitely hear – terrific!
Here’s why neither of these viewpoints are accurate: Presenting with a microphone will not magically make you a better public speaker. A bad speech will still be bad, only louder. A microphone is a mere tool. And, it is important to remember, that being heard and being understood are two entirely different things.
Here are 4 failsafe tips for success when presenting with microphones:
1. Understand how the microphone works.
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised. How many business presentations have you witnessed where the presenter uses the opening seconds - or worse, minutes - to decipher whether the audience can hear them properly? This is not only tiresome but a terrific waste of your time slot. Know when your microphone is on or off. Get to grips with this basic functionality before you walk on stage. Make a mental note so you can easily switch between appropriate modes.
2. Be sure to run a sound check.
Depending on the size of your gig, a technician may be responsible for setting up the audio system and adjusting the sound levels as you speak. While you can usually trust the technician to set the right levels for the room size and so on, only you can practice what your voice sounds like through the microphone. Play an active part in the sound testing process. Don’t be shy. You’ll only regret it later.
If there is no technician, it really is all up to you. Don’t be tempted to skip the sound check because you can. Even if you are an experienced microphone user, every room presents potential issues for which you need to be prepared.
3. Stand with good posture.
You need a good amount of air in your lungs to be able to speak publicly, confidently and clearly. No one ever filled their lungs by being hunched, bent or tense. You must stand up straight and tall. Give yourself some space to breathe properly.
4. Keep your distance.
Most people get too close to the microphone. This distorts your posture, making it difficult to breathe properly (see above). It also raises the possibility of nasty interference noises; clicks, hisses, spits, pops… and nobody wants that kind of feedback. Try to talk across the microphone rather than into it, you will create a flow that is pleasant for your audience to listen to.