The Mic Is Mightier Than The Voice: Yes, You Need To Use The Microphone!

Woman uses a microphone for public speaking
Created in Midjourney by Andrea Markowski

There’s a strange phenomenon that seems to occur during small to medium-sized events when a speaker is about to take the stage and a microphone is extended to them.

“Oh, I don’t need a mic. I have a loud voice!” they confidently say, waving the mic away.

Indeed, they start strong. “Can everyone hear me?” they holler. Audience members nod. The speaker then proceeds to deliver an entire presentation, sans microphone.

Pet peeve unlocked.

Please. Always. Use. The. Mic.

This is something I will never understand and I see it happen often. My best guess is that some people find microphones to be a bit intimidating or scary. Think of it this way: if you’re ever handed a mic, you are quite the lucky person—a mic is a sign of importance.

Let’s uncover some hard truths about choosing to not use a microphone.

#1) Your voice isn't as loud as you might think.

It's likely not robust enough to sustain a strong volume throughout your entire presentation. Plus, who wants to strain their voice? Not much fun in that.

#2) Some audience members may pretend they can hear you because they don't want to admit they can't.

For some, not being able to hear is associated with aging, which feels uncool, so they won't confess they can’t quite make out what you’re saying. It’s an unfortunate stigma. Remember that hearing problems are a fact of life for many, including young people who went to too many loud concerts without earplugs. Since hearing loss is invisible, assume there's a variety of hearing abilities in your audience…and simply use the mic.

#3) If you're at an event with a Q&A session, use the mic when it's your turn to ask a question.

"But waiting for the mic is awkward!" Well, it's even more awkward if your question is only heard by those close by. Remember, if the speaker has a mic, you need one too.

"But won't the presenter repeat my question?" Sometimes, but that often leads to the audience tuning out. And if they don't repeat the question, it's even worse—half the audience is left bewildered.

#4) Is it a hybrid event? If you skip the mic, remote participants won't hear you.

I won't even go into detail on this one; it's pretty straightforward.

Be Heard!

Still not ready to embrace the microphone? Ok, answer this one question: why wouldn't you want every member of the audience to hear your every word? After all, you've invested time and effort crafting your remarks. Don't toss it all away just because you think your voice is loud enough or because you’re intimidated.

Ultimately, using the mic boils down to etiquette. It’s a way to demonstrate respect and consideration for your audience. Make sure your message reaches every ear, allowing everyone to benefit from what you have to say. Once you’ve experienced the power of a microphone, trust me, you'll be hooked.

Discover the incredible power of public speaking, a core skill that can transform your career and elevate your everyday interactions. Don't worry, it's totally achievable—anyone can conquer the art of speaking and presentations through practice. If you want to level up in this area, join me (on LinkedIn or visit my website) for some seriously cool techniques rooted in behavioral science, marketing strategy, and the performing arts. You deserve to be heard.

Man on laptop enjoys summer while working full time

There you are: sitting on the beach, covered in sunscreen, reading your favorite book, drinking your favorite drink under the cool shade of an umbrella. Life doesn't get any better than this. Suddenly, a door slams, a phone rings, a printer turns on. You jolt back into consciousness. You're at work, sitting in your cubicle, without even a hint of sunshine streaming in from outside.

Read moreShow less