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How to Use a Handheld Microphone

Let’s be honest, your instinct to refuse the microphone has little to do with your perception (rightly or not) that you have loud voice. It’s more likely to be that the idea of your voice being amplified around the room is more than you can stomach, especially given that there’s suddenly a swarm of butterflies making themselves at home in your tummy. The truth is, however, if you refuse the microphone, you’re making the situation worse.

Remember, the microphone is used as a courtesy to your audience. Keep in mind, too, if your audience can’t hear, they’re likely to be distracted and occupy themselves with observing your mannerisms. They’ll soon pick out those distressed mannerisms – a welcome diversion from straining to listen. Do yourself and your audience a favour — use the microphone when it’s offered.

Accept the microphone graciously

This is much more professional than arguing the point.

Check the location of the on/off switch

Don’t make the mistake of leaving the microphone on when you’re not speaking.

Turn the microphone on

If its wireless, the microphone will take a second to kick in, so allow about three seconds before you speak. Resist the urge to blow into it or bang the top to check it’s working. If you’re already in front of your audience, simply give the mic a light tap on the side, then look towards your audience and ask for confirmation that the volume is comfortable.

Hold your mic with your non-dominant hand

Avoid the temptation to gesture with your microphone hand or move the microphone away from the mouth. You’ll want consistent sound without the amplification dropping in and out as you move your arm to and fro.

Hold the mic a few centimetres from your face

Also, angle the mic slightly towards your nose. Position the ball below and slightly off centre of the mouth, allowing your breath passes over the ball, rather than into it. This helps to eliminate hissing, clicking, and popping sounds.

Don’t cup your hand over the microphone

Unless, of course, you’re a rock star!

Public speaking can be easy.

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