Lavaliere or handheld? Mic tips for either option
Whether your presentation preference is to grasp the microphone or attach it to a lapel or neckline, these helpful hints will help you keep the audience focused on your message.
Are you more of a lavaliere mic user or a handheld mic aficionado?
That's an important question for presenters. Your answer comes with a set
of considerations you must keep in mind before taking the stage at your
For lavaliere lovers
If you are using a lavaliere microphone while presenting, you should
expect to have to battle a cluster of cords. The clothing you wear for
your presentation will determine how well you can hide these cords.
Presenters who opt to use a lavaliere mic should wear a garment with a
lapel. Men should consider donning a tie so that they don't have to
worry about where to clip the microphone.
Many presenters enjoy the freedom that using a lavaliere microphone
affords them. Timing hand gestures with your narrative is a far simpler
task without a handheld mic getting in your way. If your cords are
concealed properly, you can generously gesture, but those cords must be
positioned and secured correctly.
A concern that comes with lavaliere microphones is the stability of the
particular device you are using. Before beginning your presentation,
make sure the microphone and its corresponding parts are intact. Check
the cords for any frays or snips. In addition, ensure the functionality
of the clip.
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For handheld heroes
A version of this article originally appeared on the
Some presenters prefer a handheld mic. If you are among them, remember
typical PA system
will operate with microphones that are unidirectional. What does this
mean? Presenters working with handheld mics should speak into the front
of the microphone; otherwise the device won't pick up or amplify your
Keep your mouth one to three fingers' width from the handheld mic. The
closer your mouth is to the microphone, the more popping your audience
will hear. (Try speaking diagonally across the mic, rather than
directly into it, to ameliorate the plosives—those popping p's and
t's.) Also, the farther away your mouth is from the mic, the lower your
Delivering a presentation with a handheld microphone requires constant
concentration. Whereas lavaliere lovers have the luxury of moving their
arms around (within reason), a handheld hero must practice restraint.
This doesn't mean that gestures and communicative body language are out
of the question. It just means that whatever movements you make should
be small, precise and purposeful.