Tech Tip: Make Sure You’re Heard

Make_Sure_You're_HeardWhen moving from the conference room to the big stage, one of your most important tools will be the microphone. Here are a few basic tips to make sure you’re heard.


If you’re speaking from the lectern…

  • No “Snake Wrestling:” Don’t adjust the mics when you get to the lectern, ask your audio technician to position the mics properly before the session. If you’re unusually short or tall, work out mic placement with your tech people beforehand or ask to use a lavaliere mic.
  • Get Closer: Nature gave most women higher-pitched voices, which may not project as well through a sound system. A good trick is to take advantage of the microphone’s proximity effect. That is, the closer you work to the mic, the more low frequencies (bass) will be produced. By working a bit closer to the podium mic than other presenters, you can add presence and fullness to your voice. Just look out for signs you’re working too close, like “plosives” on hard consonants (ex: Ps that pop or thud through the sound system). If you’re hearing “P pops,” back away a couple inches to get them under control. You don’t need to “eat the mic” like a rock singer—just ease in a bit and you’ll hear the difference.

If you’re using a wireless lavaliere…

  • Start with a Full Charge: Ask your technician if you have a fresh battery in your belt pack. Most techs are on top of this, but occasionally batteries get used too long, resulting in static and other unwanted sounds that could distract from your remarks.
  • Power Up: Always leave the mic switched on. Most sound techs prefer to leave your belt pack on from the moment you get wired-up. This way, your technician can monitor that he’s receiving a good signal from your transmitter before you get on stage. The tech will then bring up your sound as you step on stage, so you won’t have to worry that anything you say before then will be broadcast to the room.
  • Dress the Part: If you plan to use a lavaliere, plan your wardrobe with that in mind. Ideally wear a tailored jacket or button-down shirt or blouse. T-shirts, pullover sweaters or silky blouses don’t offer a good place to clip a lavaliere.
  • Look Professional: The wire from your mic capsule to the transmitter should be hidden. Most often, that means running it inside your jacket or under your shirt. Most sound technicians will advise you on this, but in case they don’t, insist on a clean, professional look

In general…

  • Project Your Voice: Speak to the people seated in back.
  • Kill the Noise: Long necklaces or scarves may brush against the mic. Charm bracelets and bangles and even large earrings can also create unwanted noise and distraction.
  • Stay On-Mic: Avoid turning off-mic to look over your shoulder at the projection screen. A speaker confidence monitor on the floor in front of the stage is always a good idea.
  • Stop the Squeaks: Help avoid audio feedback: Keep your mic away from loudspeakers to minimize the likelihood of a screech from the P.A.

When sound is good, no one notices… and when it’s bad, every one notices. Follow these tips to make sure you always sound your best.


Rick Cornish creates communications that inform, influence and inspire… helping organizations increase sales, promote unity and persuade their people to embrace change. Working in video, corporate meetings, event marketing and more; Rick delivers purposeful creative that drives business results and builds stronger brands.

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