PSU Insight

Effective Microphone Usage

Microphone Tips and Techniques

Now that we’ve explored the different types of microphones, let's explore some general tips for using a mic.

  • If you need to speak louder than you do in normal conversation, use a microphone. Raising the volume of your voice strains your vocal cords and makes it difficult for your audience to hear you. So if your audience is larger than a handful of people, or if background noises will interfere with your being heard, use a mic.

  • Always test your mic ahead of time to make sure that it’s working properly and the volume controls are at their correct levels.

  • If possible, have a backup mic readily available.

  • If you’re using a wireless mic, test your speaking area for “dead zones.” Also be sure your batteries are fresh.

  • Feedback occurs when your microphone picks up its own amplified signal. If you hear that annoying, high-pitched whine, do not cover the mic with your hand — that may aggravate the problem. Instead, stop talking and, if possible, move away from that location. Lower the sensitivity of your microphone or lower the volume on the room’s sound system.

  • Finally, recognize and be prepared for the characteristics of each different type of mic. Your preferred type of mic may not be available, so you need to be able to use any of the different types of mics.

These tips will help you use your microphone more effectively. But there are other ways of improving your microphone skills, as you'll see in the next Insight.