Managing a microphone is all about location
Unless you’re a karaoke king or decibel diva, using a microphone effectively takes a little practice. Gone are the days of yowling like a hepcat because today’s technology can amplify your normal speaking voice. But proper placement of the mic is key.
Location, Location, Location
Imagine your microphone is a flashlight shining a V-shaped light toward your face. This area is known as the hot zone. Your voice is best amplified when you talk over or across, not directly into, this region. Speaking down the shaft of light,
known as “crowding the mic,” may distort and garble your words. Some folks overcompensate positioning the microphone too far away and sounding distant. Others place the mic too close to their mouths creating a cold spot – when they turn their heads, words are completely lost to the audience. You might feel a little like Goldilocks testing what’s too hot and too cold until you settle on a position that is just right. Most wireless microphones can be held about a six inches away from the mouth for best clarity.
Dress for Success
Both wired and wireless clip-on lavaliere microphones require presenters to consider microphone-friendly clothing. Buttons, jewelry and long hair can rub or tap against the microphone’s head causing distracting noises. A scarf, loose tie or billowing blouse may rustle softly and will be picked up, amplified and transmitted throughout the room – I hope corduroy doesn’t come back in style. Most lavalieres require a transmitter to be clipped onto a belt or slid into a pocket. Wear the appropriate attire and accessories to minimize any unwanted commotion.
Testing: 1, 2, 3
You’ll quickly realize the microphone is your friend, allowing you to speak softly and carry a big message. Whether you’re a newly published author out on your first press junket or giving a tasteful toast at a party, always arrive a little early and take the equipment out on a test drive. Rehearse what you’re going to say using the microphone. Pray that the audiovisual kid in school grew up to be a technician and is available to assist you with your sound check. Experiment with your vocal variety, pitch and rhythm while someone moves around the room to gauge how well your voice can be heard.
A microphone is an excellent tool to help you engage a large audience. Find the proper placement for the equipment and a bit of time to practice and you’ll be ready for a recording contract.
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