Always Check your Mic Clip, Stands, and Cabling

mic clay

Have you ever been speaking on a mic at the lectern and for whatever reason you decided to walk away from the lectern  – only then to find yourself unable to take the mic away from the mic stand or mic clip? 

Remember, before you speak at the lectern, always test you mic and check out your ability to take the mic with you, away from the lectern, as you walk around the room, stage, or platform.  Don’t be ‘locked to the lectern’ so to speak.  Think of this microphone at the lectern as a grab-and-go mic.  At all costs, you want to avoid any reason for the mic to hold you hostage at the lectern. 

 This could happen to you, so let’s look at some situations and how to avoid them in the future:

 Check the tension on the mic clip

 Not all mic clips are made the same way.  Some fit more snugly than others.  Have you ever grabbed a mic that is held with a mic clip and then you found that mic clip to be very tight – so tight that you are struggling to get it out of the mic clip?  Don’t let this happen.  Check your mic clip before you speak and make sure you can get the mic free when you need to.

 Make sure the [wired] mic cables are free and unwound.

 If you’re using a wired mic at the lectern and it is a mic provided by a sound or technical team (other than yourself), make sure the cable attached to the mic has a long enough mic cord to stretch the entire distance – wherever you are going in the room.  Here’s  the thought behind this:  Sometimes, when the AV team or sound person places a “lectern mic’, they may set it up to look pretty and have the cables all nice looking and tightly wound up around the lectern and mic stand {we call that a gooseneck} and then they might also put the excess cable underneath the lectern, out of sight.  When you go to grab that mic to take it away from the lectern, it won’t be easy, if at all possible.  Make sure you have checked all the cabling before your talk and even consider having the mic cable positioned so that it can be easily unwound, away from the lectern when you need remove it. and when you go to grab the mic it may not budge.

(FYI…Remember, some venues do still use wired microphone systems!)

 If you’re using a wireless mic at the lectern

 Check to mic clip or mic stand to make sure the ‘fit’ of the clip holding the mic is not too tight.  Usually, you can remove the Handheld mic from the mic clip, but sometimes the clip holding the mic is configured in such a way that it is difficult to grab the mic  and leave the lectern.  Test this out and see if this is the case at the lectern mic being used is not

 Request a wireless handheld mic. 

 For an even better portable mic option, a handheld, wireless mic allows you to move more freely across the stage.  Keep in mind, though,  If you’re renting the mic, this will almost always be the more expensive microphone option  than with a ‘wired’ mic, but you can make sure there won’t be any cables attached to the mic which might hold you down when you want to walk away.

 Request a lapel mic

 Here again, you can request a wireless lapel mic option that allows you the same, if not, more freedom to walk around the stage.  With this type of mic, you can freely gesture without worrying about holding the microphone in one hand or the other.

 Bring in your own gear

 If the scenario permits, bring in your own wireless mic system, and you can alleviate many of these issues because you [should] know how your system works and the best way to set it up for your speaking style. 

 Stay tuned for future blogs discussing what types of basic audio gear you can invest in to make your speaking life a lot easier for you when you are in front of the audience.