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Professional Development Tips: How to use a microphone

How to use a microphone when speaking in public.

How do you properly use a microphone so that you don’t sound like you talking to the interviewer from China? If you are being interviewed by a radio station, most likely you will be seated or be standing in front of a microphone.

How close do you get to the microphone? Nuzzle up to the mic. It’s your friend. Don’t be afraid of it. Find a comfortable spot that will allow you to speak over the microphone but not directly into it. Place the microphone a couple of inches away from your mouth; don’t “swallow” it. If your mouth is right on top of the mic, it will produce a distorted sound and pick up every hiss, breath, pop, and crackle.

In addition to distortion and noise pickup, talking too closely into the mic head may produce loud screeches or feedback. (A windscreen may help lessen or eliminate background noise when mics are used outside). Remember, your voice should flow over the mic, not directly into it. You can avoid popping your “P’s by talking into the microphone but just to the side of it. Stand up or sit up straight. Yes, good posture not only made Mom happy, it makes interviewers happy.

If you’re using a lavalier microphone, clip it about 8 inches below your chin onto a lapel, necktie, or any piece of loose clothing that sets down firmly. “Lav” mics can be wired or wireless; a wireless mic’s transmitter pack must be clipped to your body. Take care of jewelry, clothing, and hair — the mic can pick up jingling and rustling sounds.

Now It is Up To You …. Delivery Is Everything.

Speak! Loudly, Clearly, Slowly. Be sure to annunciate your words. Pitch, volume, rhythm, inflection, and speed are all part of public speaking, so listen to the little voice in your head while you say the words. What do you hear? Wear headphones so that you can hear the sound of your own voice. You will improve with practice!

For more tips, contact us by calling 205-991-4461. We’d love to help talk the anxiety out speaking!

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Anchor/Reporter WCBS 880 Newsradio
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President, Frankly Speaking Communications, LLC.

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