5 Reasons Why Presenters Won't Use a Microphone
Often, I have seen people refuse to use a microphone when they're presenting, whether at an office meeting, community event or industry conference. Yet, using a microphone correctly can make it easier for the audience to hear you and understand your message - which is the whole point of your presentation.
Here are the 5 reasons I hear for not using a microphone - and how you can overcome them.
1. You Don't Think It's Necessary
You may think, "my voice is powerful enough and I don't need it," but often, that is not the case. Realize that it may be difficult for the audience to hear you, given the size of the room and the amount of surrounding noise. Also, according to a 2009 study by the Better Hearing Institute, the number of Americans with hearing loss has grown to roughly 11 percent of the U.S. population - and six out of ten of them are below retirement age. So it is likely that there are people in your audience with some level of hearing difficulty.
2. You Aren't Used to Hearing Your Own Voice
The more you listen to your own voice, the more comfortable you will get listening to it. Almost every computer and smartphone has an audio recorder, so use it to record yourself and play it back, so you can get used to how you sound.
3. You Don't Realize It Can Protect Your Voice
Most people don't project well without a microphone (unless you have been trained in singing or acting). So you end up shouting when you try to project, which can leave you with a sore throat, laryngitis or vocal cord damage.
4. You Don't Know How to Use a Microphone
This concern is legitimate and can easily be addressed by practicing with the microphone. Ask the AV staff or a techie friend to help. You want to find out things such as: where to clip the microphone or how to hold it; who will control the volume; how to avoid ear-splitting feedback (don't point the microphone at the speakers) and where to get an extra battery. Then get in the room ahead of time and practice using it.
5. You Think It's Too Formal
You may think that using a microphone is only for professional speakers on a stage in front of thousands of people and that it would be arrogant to use it in a smaller setting. Not at all. Used well, a microphone can demonstrate that you're a smart and respectful presenter who cares enough about your audience to use every tool at your disposal to ensure they can hear and understand your presentation.
Gilda Bonanno is a speaker, trainer and coach who helps people from all walks of life improve their communication and presentation skills.
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