Moving around with a microphone has become much easier since the advent of the lavalier or bud microphone. These days you can be wired up and have the microphone either hanging off an earpiece fitting or tucked into the lapel or collar of your clothing. With that in mind I have split this post into two as the movement issue is different for the types of microphone you may encounter. If you generally use a bud and are faced with having to use the fixed variety, it is very important to practice (covered in Part 5 of this series) as you will be used to much more freedom of movement than the fixed microphone will allow.
Fixed Floor or Table Microphone
This microphone cannot follow you around so you will need to train yourself to sit or stand still. Try not to turn your head too far away from the microphone, drop your chin or consult your notes too often as this will restrict both the volume and direction of your voice into the microphone.
You can still be yourself – move your arms, smile and emphasise points in your speech, you just need to be aware of where the microphone is and not restrict the amount of your voice it is picking up for amplification.
Lavalier or Bud Microphone
I am a big fan of these microphones – they allow so much more movement and use of the presentation area. They do, however, have their own tricks for better use. The biggest is that you can, and probably will, move around a lot. Try not to pace the length of your presentation area – after a while your audience will be distracted by your moving back and forwards in front of them and will follow your progress rather than hear your words.
For using a bud microphone that is attached to an over the ear headpiece, always check the distance of the microphone from your mouth. I actually don’t need it in front of my mouth, an inch to the left and an inch out from my face works best with most models. You will need to do a sound check to get the right placement for you and your voice.
Next I make sure that if it is attached to a battery pack that I have this securely tucked into a back pocket. Experience has shown that this works best for me……experience of having to have it taped to my body once!!
The neatest trick I have discovered (from another presenter) with a lavalier microphone is to clip it inside your collar, lapel or shirt at collarbone level. This ensures it picks up your voice well but doesn’t pick up lots of those extra noises I mentioned in the previous post. Each time I clip the microphone on this way I am reminded of the scene from Singing in the Rain when they attach a microphone inside an actress’ dress and can only hear her heart beating! This has not been my experience I hasten to add.
Regardless of the style of microphone you will be using, you must practise using it to be comfortable and able to forget that it is there to focus on your speech. You have to adapt to its needs but you should not be a slave to it.
In the next post I will talk about how to practise when you don’t have a microphone on hand.