I have been doing a fair number of presentations to different chapters of the National Speakers Association. Some fill up the meeting room (Go Ohio and Northern California!) and some are more intimate (Yeah Pittsburgh and Tennessee!). Like most people, I like the more intimate conversations and don’t want to be bothered with a microphone. HOWEVER, if you are presenting to more than 75 people, do us all a favor and use a microphone. Lavaliere or handheld? No one really cares. Use a microphone. Even if you think you have a loud, booming voice. Use a microphone. It is not about your voice; it is about the audience’s ability to hear you. So put away your pride and speak into a microphone. Even in an audience of fifty it’s pretty nifty for everyone to be able to hear you!
Better yet, learn a little something about microphones. How to turn them on. How to turn them off before you go to the restroom. How your mouth needs to be relatively close to the microphone to be heard. And how to fish the little wire down your shirt so it doesn’t distract the audience by flopping all around. (BTW, I use a Samson SE50 Omnidirectional wireless headset – and I highly recommend Bill Johnson at SpeakerTools.com)
While I’m on my micro-rant, please be nice to the A/V people. Okay, be nice to ALL people, but especially the A/V people. Find out their first name and use it. Say thank you every once in a while. Do your sound check with them. Wander around the room while you do a sound check. Note the “hot spots” (too much feedback) with masking tape on the floor – and don’t walk into the hot spots! Then make sure the A/V person takes a piece of masking tape and notes your sound level on the mixer board – and then writes your name next to it. If there are multiple people on the program, you will sound perfect – and the audience will be able to hear you!