Wire for Sound

The microphone is an aid to the delivery of your speech and should be an unobtrusive piece of equipment.

So, how do you best wire up for sound?

Here are a few tips.

Before speaking

Arrive early and check out the equipment. Know how to switch the microphone on and off.

Look for the location of any cords which may give you trouble. If possible, tape them to the floor to prevent tripping.

Test the sound by using the microphone.

Adjust the microphone to a comfortable height, even if you are a follow-on speaker, the audience will wait.

When speaking

Don’t touch or hide behind the microphone. Any sound becomes magnified. If you are too close, your voice distorts, and facial expressions becomes hidden.

Use your natural voice and speak to the audience, not the microphone. Speak clearly and at a constant level. Modulate your voice with pitch. Don’t speak with your head turned away from the microphone.

If you have a lectern slide your papers to a second pile rather than turn pages to the back, to reduce background noise.

Using a hand-held microphone

The advantage of a hand-held microphone is that it gives you greater freedom to position yourself. It can reduce the ability to gesture, though. Nevertheless, one-handed use can still be effective. Use of notes can be difficult when managing a hand-held microphone, unless you rest the pages on a podium.

Where possible, use a cordless microphone if available.

Using a lapel microphone

A lapel microphone clips to the speaker’s clothing, so how you dress is of importance. Wear clothing to which you can easily attach a lapel microphone. For example, a jacket or a blouse that opens in the front.

Lapel microphones can be either wired or wireless. With the wireless transmitter, a pack is attached to clothing at the back, down near your waist. So, wear a belt or something with a back pocket to keep the transmitter in place and neatly out of the way. Most of these microphones work best when placed 20 – 25 centimetres below the chin.

Make sure buttons, material, jewellery, and strands of hair are well out of the way. Hitting or rubbing these items against the microphone while moving or shifting your stance, create sounds which become amplified when transmitted.

Stand with right posture

Stand upright to improve the sound of your voice and facilitate the most efficient use of the microphone. From an upright stance, you will not be talking into the microphone, but across it, which enhances the resonance of your voice.