How to comfortably work with a microphone.

Over the years I’ve presented using most styles of microphone. On stage I’ve coped with a handheld heavyweight, a clip-on lapel mic and a headset that sat over my hair like a hairband.

I’ve also spoken into a mic on radio, internet TV, on Zoom calls and most recently to record my audio book*.

And I can confirm that, without a shadow of a doubt, each microphone is as individual as we all are, no two sound the same; and I am uncomfortable using them all!

With this in mind this article contains my top tips when using a mic – on stage and in the studio (be that an actual studio or your bedroom).

Most importantly …

… As difficult as it can be to use a microphone, if you are offered one – take it and use it. If your audience has to strain to hear you, they will stop listening long before you finish speaking.

If you are offered a hand-held mic, be careful not to gesticulate with the hand you’re holding the mic in. You may not notice but your audience will!

And remember to hold the microphone below your mouth. You want the air you are expelling as you speak to flow over the top of the mic and not directly into it

A Lapel mic or headset is likely to be positioned for you by a sound engineer or producer so talk normally and let it amplify you. Just remember if it’s on your lapel or neckline not to move your head too much as that can have the same affect as gesticulating with a hand-held mic.

It’s also a really good idea to think about what you are going to wear before you arrive. The mic may have a wired transmitter and that will need to be clipped to something or put in a pocket. I tend to wear shirt and trousers so I can clip the mic to my shirt, run the wire under my shirt and clip the transmitter to the top of my trousers. Then I don’t have to worry about it again.

Also avoid long necklaces, noisy fabrics etc and watch your hands. If you tend to fiddle with your jewellery or neckline when you are nervous the mic will pick the noise of the rattle or rub of the fabric.

In the studio you are more likely to have a static mic, above or in front of you and someone able to direct you. However, if you are using one in a home studio be careful to speak into the mic and not to move your head a lot.

Oh, and move away if you aren’t speaking, the mic will amplify your breathing as well as your voice!

As I say it isn’t always comfortable and I don’t really like any of them … but equally you want to make sure you’re heard!

* You can hear an audio sample of me reading my audio book (and buy it too) from Audible.