Pass the mic, and please use it.

Using a microphone will help you sound better and serve others. When you have 30 or more people in a room and there is a mic available, please use it. Always use a microphone if the event is going to be recorded. 

When you make use of the mic, the audience will be able to hear you, and you can comfortably speak without having to strain your voice. Plus, it’s the polite thing to do and makes for good conference etiquette. 

If there are not mic runners at the event, it requires a little patience to pass the mic along to the next person. But it really isn’t about you and how you feel about using a mic, or that you think you have a voice that is loud enough. As a hearing impaired person, I can tell you, your voice is not loud enough.

No thanks.

I recently went to an event with 60 business leaders in attendance. Towards the end of an interesting talk about productivity, it was time for the Q&A session and there were two people at the back of the room ready to pass the mic to those with questions. 

The first person posed their question speaking into the mic, all good. 

The next person waved away the microphone, ‘I’m all good, thanks’.  The next person, ‘I don’t need a microphone, thanks’. And the next, ‘No need for that, I have a very loud voice’. Not one person after the first, accepted the mic. 

I was sitting towards the back of the room and I got to see the backs of heads, but I couldn’t hear the questions. The speaker, from the stage, answered each question into her microphone for all to hear, so that gave me a reasonable guess as to the question asked.

People looked bored. 

As I looked around the room I sensed that people were switching off, and starting to get fidgety maybe because they also couldn’t hear.

No one said anything. The idle mic runners stood like sentries at the back of the room and people either glazed over and tuned out or began to chat in hushed tones with their neighbour. 

Not a great end to what started out as an excellent presentation. 

I don’t like using the microphone.

Sound familiar? We don’t all have a love of speaking into a microphone, but learning to get comfortable with one is an essential part of business communication. Don’t make it hard for people to listen to you. 

 “I was a shy kid with a broom handle that I pretended was a microphone.”

Patti LaBelle

3 tips on using the microphone when it’s passed to you.

  1. Accept the microphone. If you are in a room where there are 30 or more people, a microphone is necessary and you are helping others including the speaker by making use of it. You are also doing yourself a favour by taking care of your voice. 
  2. Hold the microphone about 10 cm from your face just under your mouth. When your head moves, move your hand with it so that the mic follows your mouth. Use your free hand to make hand gestures. Don’t wave the mic around near your navel.
  3. Speak normally and let the microphone amplify your voice. 

The microphone is an opportunity for you to get heard and it will make it easier for everyone else in the room too.

Thank you for using the microphone.

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