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David Lee King

5 Mic Tips for Presenters



I see lots of people give presentations … and hear lots of presenters with microphone problems.

I know a little bit about microphones and how to get the most out of them, so here are 5 Mic Tips for Presenters!

Have some microphone tips not listed? Add them in the comments!

5 Mic Tips for Presenters:

1. Get close to the mic! Most mic and volume problems are solved if the presenter simply moves his/her head closer to the mic.

  • Optimally, you should be about 4-6 inches from the mic, and an easy way to measure that is by using the clenched fist rule. Simply put your fist up to your mouth, and put the mic on the other side of your fist. That puts you about 4 inches or so from the mic.
  • Using a lavalier? They don’t have to be as close as a handheld-type mic, but you still need to position the lavalier to it’s pretty close to your head. Right under your neck is a great place for the lavalier mic, so for guys wearing ties, clipping the mic right underneath the knot of your tie works great. Women, same thing – wear “lavalier-friendly” clothes (so you have a place to pin the mic).

2. Speak directly into the mic (or slightly angled if your P’s and S’s are popping a lot). I see lots of speakers hold a mic down by their chest. Bad! Be bold, be brave … and talk into the mic.

3. Do a sound check before the event. Make sure to talk into the mic like you normally would during a presentation – so no embarrassed whispering. Also, use that time to get familiar with the mic. See if it has an on/off switch, a mute button, a battery light, etc.

4. Avoid feedback. That high-pitched, squeaky feedback is icky, and it’s really pretty easy to avoid, if you follow these three steps:

  • if you start hearing feedback, move closer to the mic – not farther away from it. If the mic isn’t picking up a strong signal from you, it will start picking up other noises, including your voice from the monitors… and that causes a feedback loop (ie., those terrible screechy noises that everyone hates).
  • don’t cover the mic with your hand. That’s sorta the same as cupping your ears (ie., more ambient noise = more likely to feedback).
  • Stay away from the monitors! If you like to walk while talking, and there are monitors on stands in the room … stay away from them.

5. Use the on/off or mute button. If you need to cough or say something privately, either step away from the mic or use the on/off/mute buttons. That’s what they’re for.

Hopefully, these simple tips will help you be a better presenter. Got any mic tips of your own? Share them in the comments!

cool mic pic by hiddedevries

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Catherine Willis

    Oftentimes presenters start off well by talking to the audience using the mic on a podium, but as soon as they start their Powerpoint show, they turn away from the mic on the podium and look at the screen and talk.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/57YYUUMFGZXY6ITLKNL7P4TZH4 Angie

    On a related topic, they then typically just read what's on the PowerPoint, which makes for bad presentations overall. Andy Goodman has a great book, “When Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes” (available on his website – http://www.agoodmanonline.com/publications/inde…) that talks about the best way to utilize slideshows during a presentation.

  • http://www.lynhopper.com Lyn

    #5 is a great one to remember. I once heard someone say to aim the mic at your throat just below your chin. Seems like that usually works fairly well to keep it the right distance from your mouth.

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    # Don’t cover the mic with your hand:
    This is common mistake by presenters. thank for notify about this.

  • http://www.evolveselection.co.uk/ Pharmaceutical Recruitment

    # Don’t cover the mic with your hand:
    This is common mistake by presenters. thank for notify about this.

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  • Nina Mchale

    One other thought: lots of people–myself included!–choose to forgo mics in a small room, but even though they start off loud, they end up trailing off. :) Also, you may have an audience member or members who use assistive technology with the PA. I embarrassed myself once by turning down a lavalier, and I felt like an idiot when I learned that an audience member needed me to use it, or her hearing aid wouldn’t be any use at all. perso

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