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Can you hear me now?

Effective preparation = effective microphone usage in presentations

Are you preparing to speak at a conference or large business gathering?

If so, you may need to use a microphone to allow your audience to hear and participate in your presentation.

Here are three tips to help you present effectively using a microphone and to make it easier for your audience to understand and appreciate your message.

Tip #1: Understand how to use the microphone

Recruit an audio-visual specialist to demonstrate the proper use of the microphone before you use it. If you're speaking at a conference, there will be one on hand. Make sure that you meet them prior to speaking. Find out if the features of the microphone, such as volume, will be controlled remotely by them. Otherwise, have them demonstrate the proper use of it including how to turn it on and off.

Enquire before the day of your presentation whether a handheld model or attachable microphone will be used. This knowledge will assist you in choosing the most appropriate attire – usually an important consideration for women.

If the microphone is to be fastened to your clothing you can choose attire that enables the equipment to be easily attached. Make sure that the microphone attaches securely to your clothing and does not shift when you bend or move.

In cases where you won't have an audio-visual specialist available to control the features of the microphone remotely, practise turning it on and off so you can do it on the fly in case of unscripted events.

Tip #2: Rehearse

Practise at the venue to help you feel comfortable with the microphone.

Check:

  • That the microphone does not provide feedback so that you become used to the sound of your voice through the audio system
  • The quality of sound with another person in different areas of the room so that you know that the entire audience will be able to hear you

Handheld microphones

If you are using a handheld model, practise holding it while demonstrating any visual aids or using a PowerPoint remote. This helps you to become comfortable with it and builds your confidence in using a microphone within your presentation.

Have another person verify that the speaker placement is appropriate for clear hearing at all locations in the room and that the use or volume of the microphone does not create strange echoes or feedback.

Rehearsing your entire presentation will also allow you to verify that the microphone's battery system will stay powered for your allocated speaking time. For longer presentations, you're able to judge whether you may need to schedule an intermission to change the power supply.

Tip #3: Turn off the microphone appropriately

For longer presentations, keep tabs on your audience and turn off the microphone at times when you're not presenting to the group. This is vital during intermissions or while the audience is conducting group activities. By doing so, you ensure that embarrassing mishaps do not occur but also can save battery life in wireless models.

Every public figure can tell a story of an embarrassing faux pas where a microphone was left on during unsavoury comments. Make sure you always turn off your microphone when it's not in use.

Following these tips will help you to feel more comfortable using a microphone during your presentation. By feeling more comfortable, you come across as a knowledgeable and confident speaker.

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Maria Pantalone

Maria Pantalone is the author of Success Talks: Conversations with Everyday Leaders. Maria works with individuals and teams to make communication their strength so that their message is heard. She provides tailored programs in presentation skills, business writing and effective communication as a leader and team member. Maria’s programs help her clients to excel in their role and be recognised as leaders in their field.
30 Business Communication Tips

Looking for tips to help you with your speaking, writing and interpersonal communication?

Then download my free ebook, 30 Business Communication Tips.

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