Just Use The Mic

“Can everyone hear me?  Good. I’m not going to use the mic, then.” This is how a recent presentation that I attended began. It was a mistake.

The larger the training room, the worse are the accoustics and the ability to hear a person speak, regardless of how loud of a “presentation voice” a presenter may think he has. Using a microphone isn’t about the presenter’s comfort level or personal preferences, it’s about improving the audience’s experience. Even if the audience can hear a presenter speaking at the top of his lungs, it doesn’t mean they can hear the presenter well. Straining to hear a presenter can distract from the audience’s ability to easily process the information that’s being presented.

Listen to the following two, very brief, examples:

Which was more pleasant to listen to? Which was easier to listen to? This second question is even more important if you have a multi-cultural audience who may not be native speakers of the language in which the presentation is delivered.

The next time you find yourself in a large room and someone offers a mic for you to use, go ahead and take it regardless of how loud you feel your natural voice can project.

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