Hints and Tips when using a Microphone
People generally see a microphone as a tool to hide behind, or as an absolute necessity to make their speech a success. Should the speech be a disaster, it is normally the microphone’s fault, or the fault of “that sound guy”.
The truth is that a microphone is one of the most valuable tools to have in order to accomplish a flaunt-less speech, if used correctly.
This article will help you to make the most out of using a microphone.
Switching a microphone on and off.
- When you are holding a microphone in front of you in an upright position, you will see a switch on the side.
- Remember Golden Rule Number 1:Off is “Af” in Afrikaans, which means down… therefore Off is in the down position.
- Switching the microphone on will leave it in the far top position.
Holding the microphone.
- Don’t “choke” a microphone, it will scream!!! (The howling noise called “feedback”). This normally happens when people grasp a microphone by the top part of the body or too close to the mesh part where they need to talk into.
- Remember that a microphone is most effective around 3-5 cm away from your mouth. So don’t be afraid to hold it close to your mouth.
- Hold your microphone upright. You all witnessed this before… The speech starts and you can hear everything… but as the speech progresses, the speaker let’s the microphone drop lower and lower from his mouth. The same goes for microphones that are fitted on a microphone stand. People tend to stand in front of the stand, but after a while, either move away from the microphone stand, or talk in a different direction.
- Whether you are holding a microphone in your hand, or if it is fitted into a microphone stand, always remember Golden Rule Number 2:As long as you can see the base of the microphone (bottom part) over the rest of the microphone, you know that you are talking INTO it, which is what we want!! Try it with an ordinary pen, and you will see what we mean. Simply lift the pen, holding it close to your mouth, until you see the base over your hand and the pen.
General Rules and Reminders:
- When talking on a microphone, a lot of people ask me if it is loud enough or if the audience can hear them. My answer is very simple, and this is Golden Rule Number 3:Speak loud enough to hear yourself over the speakers.
- Never point a microphone in the direction of a speaker. It will cause that howling noise (feedback).
- Never put a microphone down without switching it off.
- Never clap your hands while holding a microphone.
- Make sure that everyone knows where the switch is located on the microphone.
- Microphones are not toys, so please keep them away from children.
On the funnier side:
Here is one reason why you should always switch a microphone off when everyone finished his or her speech.
We did a wedding function in 2001. The Master of ceremonies did his duty, and welcomed everyone. The speeches and other formalities went like clockwork, and every time someone finished what they had to say, the master of ceremonies would take the microphone back from them. Having no other place to put the microphone, he casually stuck it into his back trouser pocket every time.
Well, all the guests settled down and waited for their first course to be served, soft background music playing and photographers taking the odd picture every now and then, when suddenly, over the sound system came this very satisfied voice telling another guy how long he had to hold himself in before he could get a chance to go to the “loo”. And what’s more, he even declared to his fellow “water-bearer” how nice this “relief” was after having such a stressful evening of preparing his speech.
With a “Lets go find us a drink!!” and the unmistakable sound of zips being pulled up, they walked out of the bathrooms, only to be greeted with a applause from everyone attending the wedding…
Moral of the story…
Switch off the microphone when going to the loo, specially when it is a cordless one… and… Don’t pull up your zip tooooo loud!!