It seems to be a ritual of the average presenter: Jump on stage, look into the audience, and before saying a word, he or she taps on the microphone. Then there’s the “tap 3 times” followed by the “is this thing on?” presenter. Or how about the grab the microphone and blow into it? And finally, the “Can everybody hear me?” presenter. (There’s actually a ton more, but refrain will be practiced here)
What’s wrong with this practice? As soon as you start tapping or blowing into the microphone, your audio technician (or A/V person) will turn down the volume to prevent damage to the sound system or damage to your audience members’ ears.
Here’s the best practice: Introduce yourself to the technician in charge of the sound. If you’re going to be wearing a lavalier microphone, ask if there are boundaries or places you shouldn’t stand while presenting. If you’re using the lectern microphone, in most cases you just need to walk up and start speaking like you’re addressing a large audience; but it can’t hurt to ask the audio tech if there’s anything you need to know about the microphone. Discuss a plan.
What’s the plan? The audio tech will be watching for you to jump up on stage and start presenting. Make eye contact, give a thumbs up, and start speaking. Your thumbs up is the cue to bring up your microphone volume. No tapping necessary! In fact, that little bit of dialog and pre-planning with the audio tech will result in some of the best audio you’ve had and you won’t start your presentation off with the “is this thing on” distraction.
This is basic information that will cover a broad audience. If you have a unique situation, a question, or experience you’d like to share, email us. We’d love to hear from you.