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Is This Thing On?

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The big moment.

You’ve been presented with the prestigious opportunity to speak at an event! Whether you are the maid of honor at a wedding or an award recipient at a corporate dinner, your end goal is the same. You must deliver a powerful, memorable toast that leaves everyone in the room thundering with applause and yearning for more! But what good is the content of your speech if no one in the room can hear it properly? Without getting technical, here are 5 helpful microphone-wrangling tips to remember that will ensure you sound your absolute best.

Photo Credit: Afterglow Creative


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1. Hold the mic close.

This is often the most overlooked part of mic etiquette. Many people end up holding the microphone by their chest or stomach, which results in very low intelligibility and volume. The ideal place to rest the microphone is right on your chin (below lower lip), or held within 1-2 inches of your mouth.

Photo Credit: Amelya Jane Photography

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2. Keep it steady.

Holding the microphone close is just the first step! Make sure to keep it there, especially if you are animated with your hands while speaking, or tend to turn your head to look at the audience. Remember to always dedicate one hand to holding the mic in line with your mouth! Excess movement will result in increased audio dropout. If your hands are full, request a mic stand or podium - asking a friend for help isn’t a bad idea either!

Photo Credit: Peter Nguyen Photography

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3. Limit movement.

Positioning and placement in relation to your crowd and the sound system are equally important when planning your speech. Work with the sound technician to pick a spot that is conducive to good sound and audience visibility. One should avoid standing in the direct path of a speaker. This and excessive unplanned movement should also be avoided, as both may cause unexpected whiny feedback during your speech.

Photo Credit: Crystal Stokes Photography

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4. Go to soundcheck.

Is there a cocktail hour or rehearsal for your event? Attend, introduce yourself to the sound technician, and ask to test the audio! While testing the mic, make sure you are conscious of your movement, positioning, and how you hold the mic! For best results, practice your actual speech, and not “mic check one two”. And remember, no mumbling! Project your voice into the mic like you are addressing the whole room - the more signal the better!

Photo Credit: Sachi Anand Photography

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5. No mic drops.

Please don’t. They break and are expensive to replace. :)


Ranganathan Rajaram