Microphone Etiquette 101: Presentations

Testing, Testing, 123..

We’ve all been to the event where we think the speaker may swallow the microphone, talks too quietly, or (despite the audio team’s horror) even drops the mic leaving everyone’s ears slightly ringing.

The Cory’s Audio Visual events team has seen all forms of microphone mishaps after more than 60,000 events in our long history.

We are giving you our top tips for being to be your best when using a microphone. Following these tips will leave your audience AND your audio team wow-ed.

  1. Don’t be afraid of the microphone. We get it. It can be a little intimidating having your voice amplified. Especially if you have a good audio team, it is best to speak as if it isn’t there. Your audio pro can adjust the volume accordingly. Remember, it is always easier to turn up your volume than to reduce it.

  2. Aim for your mouth. That’s right—not inside, beside, or below. Where this is of most concern is when using a podium microphone. This is most important when using a podium microphone.  Adjusting podium microphones can be a loud, ever-changing process struggle for someone who is unsure of where to aim. It is best to aim it directly at your mouth. This will mean less leaning into the podium. When using a handheld microphone, always remember when your head moves, the microphone should follow along.

  3. Pull back. While getting closer will make you slightly louder, getting too close to your microphone can reduce the quality of sound. Keep it 6-12 inches from your mouth and you’re guaranteed to look and sound like a pro.

  4. Testing. Before your presentation, it is best to arrive 15 mins early to be fitted with a lapel microphone or a headset. Sometimes it can feel awkward to test your microphone, but your audio team will want to hear your normal voice, volume, and tone. A pro tip is to give portions of your presentation while testing. This will help your audio team set the perfect audio level for what you’re about to present.

  5. Always assume it is on, especially if you do not have audio pros handling your sound. Microphones can pick up many noises, even from feet away. While a great audio team will see to it that it doesn’t happen, it is always best to assume your audience can hear whatever is being talked about while you’re wearing or standing near a microphone.

  6. Avoid tapping on or blowing into a microphone. The best way to test to see if a microphone is on is to make noise rather than physically touching or blowing into it. Your professional audio team will be ready in the back. Simply making eye contact will let them know you are ready to begin.

  7. Never drop the mic—even if your presentation really rocked. Dropping a microphone can not only cause damage to the actual microphone but also the sound system behind it. That one moment of glory can turn into a rather expensive, damaging endeavor.

Behind every great speaker and presentation is an audio team who knows how to make your audience see, hear, and feel your message.

If you’re ready to use these microphone etiquette tips at your next event, our team at Cory’s Audio Visual can’t wait to help make your vision a reality.


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