Recently I was setting up for a talk, and the speaker who was ahead of me on the agenda was also in the room preparing for her talk. I brought over the hand-held mic and said: “here’s the mic we have.” She said, “I don’t need a mic.” There were 50+ people in a long room. I told her “Yes, you do need a mic.” She said, “No I don’t, my voice is loud enough.” I said “Okay.”
She needed the mic!
Folks in the back missed much of what she said, and her volume was too loud too often. If you can speak softly and everyone in the back can still hear you easily, you don’t need a mic. That’s about 20 people in a small room. More than that or if the room is large and people are sitting in the back, you probably need a mic. Thirty or more attendees, use a mic. It never hurts unless the sound system is lousy.
Many times throughout my career as a professional speaker I have seen (and at times barely heard) people stand in front of their peers and holler the whole time they are speaking, thinking that is better than using a mic.
Why use a mic? So you can fluctuate the pitch and power of your voice. Sometimes I’ll put the mic on a low setting or if it’s a lavalier mic I’ll clip it further away from my throat. This way I will have a little boost to my voice but not so much to be overpowering if it’s a small group.
Don’t be afraid of microphones; they are your friends. Use them!
The next time I blog I’ll describe another common amateur safety speaker mistake that negatively affects other speakers on the agenda! So, stay tuned.