Master the Microphone - Become a More Professional Speaker
Speakers should practice at home using a microphone and when one is available for a performance, use it. Many speakers will avoid the use of a mic because they don't know how to use it. The use of a microphone is to the advantage of the speaker and to the audience. Without a microphone, the voice can't be varied enough to get that personal tone, friendly and persuasive. If a microphone is used properly, a speaker can use a softer voice and can better emphasize the points of the speech.
A microphone, properly used, mellows and enhances the voice. The microphone, along with amplifiers, speakers and other attached equipment, changes the entire tenor of a presentation. You can lessen the strain on your voice if you will let the microphone do the work for which it was invented.
When I present a program to a small group where a sound system is not available or when I don't have an accompanist, I bring my portable karaoke machine, a microphone stand and a microphone which can be used as a hand-held unit That allows me to get closer to my audience. Never approach such a karaoke unit with an open mic because it will screech at you. If you approach, be sure to hold the mic away from the unit or switch the mic off.
How should you test a microphone? I guess you would blow into it or tap on it - right? Wrong! Never tap a mic or blow in it, especially if it's mine. Tapping on the mic or blowing in it may damage it. You should arrive early for every presentation so you will have time to check out the room setup and the sound equipment. The mic is an important part of that equipment. You may find a custodian, a technician or the person who sets up and operates the equipment to help you test the mike. If you can't find anyone like that, ask some audience members in different parts of the room to give you feedback as you test the microphone.
The microphone stand may need to be raised or lowered. This sounds simple, but not all microphone stands are alike. Some stands have buttons, some have to be twisted. Some need a lot of strength to be moved. I usually try to find a man when strength is needed because men have all the right muscles You may need to adjust the height to suit you so get acquainted with the procedure so you can adjust it without fumbling.. Make sure you can do this task with ease so that if you have to deal with that before you begin your speech, you will not be awkward in your effort.
The turning on or off of a a microphone seems simple enough - turn it on when you begin and off when you finish. If you use the mic as a hand-held unit, place the unit back on the stand when you finish. Learn to do this smoothly. Be sure that the microphone is on before you begin to speak. Although these actions are not complicated, you would be surprised how many performers forget to do them We have all heard the embarrassment of someone saying something confidential which everyone can hear because the mic was left open.
Speakers and performers should keep the mouth close to the microphone, whether they use it as a hand-held unit or on the stand. Singers should remember to keep the mouth close to the mic, But when the high note comes, the microphone must be moved slightly away from the mouth or if the mic is on a stand, the singer should step back a little or the note might come out strident.
Remember - the microphone is your friend. Time spent learning its proper use is worthwhile.