Using a Microphone – Part 1
First and foremost, the microphone is not there to make you feel nervous. It is a means of ensuring you are heard throughout the audience – it is an aid which you you use whenever possible.
When you are asked to make a speech, always check that there will be a microphone and what style it will be. If this is a type you have not used before, see if you can borrow one to practice. Then arrive early to the venue and test the actual microphone yourself. Microphones vary almost as much as people do so you should always be comfortable with the equipment on hand.
When you do a sound check, do not count to 10 or recite some well known ditty. Those listening know what to expect so will not concentrate as much on how clear the sound is compared to you saying something they have not heard before.
If there appears to be some distortion with a handheld or stand microphone, move back slightly or lower it a little. The ideal position for a microphone is below your chin and about 12″ away – hence the popularity of lavalier (clipon microphones) and headsets. The most useful piece of advice I received when I was starting out (from a musician) was to treat the handheld microphone as an ice cream cone and hold it where you felt comfortable without eating it!
The next post will cover judging the volume when using a microphone for your speech.