People speaking could be talking for a range of items including but not limited to prayers, sermon, plays and a range of other items. All these things are done with the spoken word are great but I have noticed problems with people holding hand held microphones that prevent the spoken word being amplified or cause distort in the amplification.
In this article I'm going to take the time out to explain the three most prominent problems people using hand held microphones have and how to avoid them while you're speaking.
Why is it important to avoid these problems? It's important because when your voice gets quite (as result of these problems) people begin to concentrate on straining their ears to hear what you're saying, instead of fully processing what you are saying. These microphones problems can also cause the sound technician/s to do a lot extra work to fixing the amplification of your voice, some sound techs might see it as a challenge but most I know will see it as a difficult and annoying extra task.
Frozen But Head Turning
The first problem I see a lot with older people and people who don't talk into a microphone very often; I've nicknamed it "Frozen But Head Turning." This problem accrues when the speaker moves their head; left and right, during speaking and not moving the microphone along with the rotation of their head.
This phenomenon causes the amplification of your voice to get very quiet, THEN VERRY LOUD, then very quiet again and so on so forth. It's not only very distracting for your audience but a nightmare for your sound teach who has to manage volume and/or gan levels turning you up and down constantly to flatten out the amplification level of your voice.
To avoid "Frozen But Head Turning" you should to A) remember to move the microphone along with your head or B) instead of rotating at the neck rotate at your waste as your arm will rotate along with your head.
"Microphone distance" is another problem that quite often happens when people are use too microphones with larger polar patterns (polar patterns are a map of the area around the microphones where sound is able to be picked up). Not getting distancing correct will again cause people to strain their ears to listen to you. When people often pick up microphones they will by generally; by default, hold the microphone at their chest.
While this is ok for more expensive and powerful microphones, for a wide range of dynamic microphones they are not able to pick sound up from such a large distance. The problem gets worse when the speaker does not notice voice is not being amplified and fails to move the microphone closer to their mouth.
A tech may not be able to fix the problem on some microphones by driving the gan or volume levels up to correct the problem so it's important to get the correct distance between your mouth and microphone. To prevent this happening to you, before you come up to speak, observe how far away other people on stage are hold the microphone from their mouth and place the microphone around the same distance from your own mouth; when you speak.
If you are unable to the above place the microphone 5cm (2inches) from the bottom of your chin and while you talk for the first 15 seconds move the microphone closer or further away depending on the loudness of you voice. You will need to be quick preforming the second method as the sound technician after this time will be adjusting the microphones to try and fix the distance problem.
Constantly moving the microphones away and closer to your mouth for a long period of time will force the sound tech to concentrate on turning the microphones gan or volume settings up and then back down constantly to counteract the problem and thus you should avoid doing so.
The final speaking microphones problem I like to call "quite, LOUD, quiet LOUD" and is caused by people shouting and/or whispering in to the microphone; story tellers and teachers notorious for doing this. Whispering into microphone is bad; its similar to having the microphone to far away from your mouth, no one can here you. As for shouting or overly raising your voice does a range of things:
Ã¢â¬Â¢ Your voice is already being amplified to up to 100dB there is no need to shout, sound over 100dB starts to permanently damaging to people's hearing.
Ã¢â¬Â¢ Your vice going up and down constantly is distracting for your listeners
Ã¢â¬Â¢ Damages equipment by exceeding their intended dynamic range.
So how do you get around this? Voice tone! My church Pastor has mastered doing this:
Ã¢â¬Â¢ Instead of shouting his voice sounds excited and the speed at which he spears picks up and this emulates shouting without actually shouting
Ã¢â¬Â¢ Instead of whispering he slows his voice down and the tone becomes more in the low sound frequency range and the sound get slightly ruff and this emulates whispering without whispering.
Now this is not to say don't change the loudness of your voice, having your voice monotone is a quick way to send your listeners to sleep. Instead of being monotone while you speak you need to be mindful not to go overboard with the dynamic range of your voice; while speaking, as it's not a good practice.
The one thing I want you to take away from this is that while speaking you should be paying attention to what is going around you. Most speakers will speak and be watching the audience and reacting to what they are doing but what you also need to be paying attention to how your voice is being amplified.
Ask yourself every now and then: am I too loud or quiet? can every one hear me? and is the microphone picking up my voice accurately? Doing so will insure that your voice is amplified and the audience is able to comfortably enjoy the message you have to say.
Zach Radloff lives on the Gold Coast and is studying IT technology at university.
Zach Radloff's previous articles may be viewed at