Thursday, May 7, 2009

Presentation Skills - Using the microphone

Microphones were invented way back in 1907, by Dr. Lee DeForest, who revolutionized the way presentations were delivered; however, few presentors would know how to use the microphone to their advantage when giving a presentation.

Before we go into the do's and dont's of using a microphone, let me walk you through what it does / does not do for the presenter. A microphone and amplification system:

  • Amplifies your voice

  • Allows you to speak for prolonged periods with less effort

What it does not do is, make your speech clearer and better in quality.

Tips on using a microphone:

  • Surprisingly, I have noticed that presentes opt to ignore the microphone. I’ve experienced speakers who say, “I have a loud voice” and because they don’t know how to use a microphone, choose to speak without it. Without a microphone, a presenter can’t vary his or her voice quality sufficiently to achieve the personal, conversational tone that is both friendly and persuasive. With a good microphone, used properly, you can speak softly and personably, and then emphasize your points with more force.

  • Position yourself approximately 6 inches away from the microphone head.

  • To test the microphone, never tap or blow into it. Both are hard on the equipment and signs of an amateur. Say something friendly and conversational like, “Good afternoon. Am I being heard clearly?” Most people will be happy to help.

  • Do not touch the head of the microphone while speaking

  • Make sure the microphone stand is at the right height for you before you start speaking. Not all microphones on a stand are set up the same way. Some mike stands have buttons, others need to be twisted, and some just need a lot of strength to be moved. In many situations, you will have to readjust the height to suit you, so the more familiar you are with the procedure, the less fumbling and more confidence you will exude.

  • learn how to turn off / on the microphone. Many speakers have experienced the nightmare of not turning off the mike during a break and saying something confidential or visiting the bathroom. Know that everyone will hear you with clarity if the mike is “live.”

  • If you prefer to move around a great deal through the audience and/or use both hands, you will probably enjoy using a lavaliere microphone — preferably a wireless one — that attaches with a clip to your lapel. The wireless microphones have a holder for batteries that you clip to your belt or waistband, or place in a pocket, so dress accordingly.

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