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If someone offers you a microphone, use it. Test it first and if it works, by all means, use the mic. Don't wait to ask the audience, "Hey, can you hear me okay?" That's not a strong opening statement. Plus you are wasting everyone's time. You need to take a few minutes to set up and test the mic before you present, not after you start. In my experience, the main reason presenters become microphone shy is because they are secretly afraid of it. This make sense.
We are most accustomed to hearing our own voices without amplification. With a mic our voices can sound loud and imposing to our own ears. If you are not familiar with the sound of your amplified voice, it can sound intimidating or even too loud. Just remember, it may sound loud to you, but not to your audience. So, how can you lose your fear and just say yes to mic support? It's simple. Take a few moments before your presentation to get familiar with the mic. This is why running an audio check prior to the presentation is so important.
The sound check isn't merely to make sure the equipment is working; it's often even more important to make you comfortable with using the microphone. So take a few moments. Let an audio technician or event coordinator help make you look and sound good. In many large-scale public-speaking venues, I have been asked to use a wireless lavalier mic. I like using the lavalier. It helps keep my hands free and lets use me a broader range of body motions. If you are shy, you might want to hook up the mic in a private place like a restroom, since you are likely be dropping wires underneath your shirt.
And as much as I like to wear dresses, I know that dresses and lavalier mics don't mix. The battery pack portion of the microphone needs to hook on to a firm belt line, so only sturdy skirts or pants will do. Finally, consult a mirror or ask a person you trust if your lavalier mic looks okay. Since wires in the pack are often behind your back, it can be difficult to see exactly where you might have gone wrong with any self-setup. I have also been in situations when I have been given a handheld mic before a presentation.
You usually need to say a few sentences to get comfortable and to understand how far away to hold the mic from your mouth. Here is a hint. It's usually a lot closer than you think. And because I have always got a mic in my hand, I need to understand how this is going to affect my physical performance. I have also been in situations where an event coordinator will ask me if I want to use the mic or not. Remember, the answer is always yes. Bottom line, if someone requests that you use the mic, don't argue.
Get comfortable with it during your audio check and you'll end up sounding and looking more confident.
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