Hints and tips for presenting with microphones and preparing your microphone presentation
When it comes to delivering a microphone presentation, there are a number of things to consider. Here are four useful hints and tips for presenting with microphones:
Microphones attached to lecterns. These place a restriction on how much of the stage you can use. Be careful with your facial alignment relative to the microphone – if you turn to one side to engage part of the audience, or to make reference to a slide, for example, your voice may be momentarily lost.
Lavalier microphones (aka lapel mics). These provide a greater degree of movement and can be very discreet. However, it's still possible for the voice to be momentarily lost by turning the head away from the microphone.
For this reason, miniature microphones worn around the head have gained considerable favour in recent years. Both these types of microphone require wires to be run to a transmitter worn by the user. Typically this transmitter is positioned around the waist.
Resist any temptation to put the transmitter and battery pack into a jacket pocket, as it disturbs the line of your clothes. Run any wires under your shirt/blouse as opposed to leaving them trailing externally. External wires are easily caught on table corners and they can also contribute to an unprofessional, last-minute, rushed appearance.
Despite all the assurances the sound engineer may give you, make sure you know where the on/off switch is. Equally, make sure that the transmitter is equipped with fresh batteries – have a supply with you and insist that they are used.
Handheld microphones. The most common error when presenting with microphones is failing to hold handheld microphones high enough, and close enough to the mouth. The second most common error when presenting with microphones is forgetting to move the microphone when the head moves, so keeping a constant distance between the microphone and the mouth. Make sure you know where the on/off switch is, so that you can avoid the clunking and tapping noises associated with putting the microphone down after use. (This should be taken care of by the sound engineer at the mixing desk, but it's as well to have your own backup plan).
Wear the right clothes for your microphone presentation. A few notes on practical issues. If you're going to be wearing a lapel mic or a head mic make sure you have some form of waistband or belt to which the transmitter/battery pack can be attached. Also make sure that it's easy to route wires under your shirt or blouse. So far as lapel mics are concerned make sure you have a stiff lapel to attach them to, as opposed to a soft silk collar.