If you find yourself standing in front of a microphone it most likely means you have something to say and someone wants to hear it. The mic is a tool critical to good communication.
What's the least you need to know?
1/ Point the mic at your mouth. There is no way to be subtle or cool here. There's no way to pretend you're not really using the mic. You are. It has to point at your mouth.
2/ Do not touch or tap the end of the mic. Do not cover the mic with your hand. Do not swing the mic. Do not point it toward the loudspeakers or other mics. Do not turn away from the mic while speaking.
3/ If the mic looks like the one on the left above take it easy, you don't have to get too close, they're designed to pick up normal speech in normal situations.
4/ If the mic looks like the one on the right you gotta hold it closer. They're designed to operate in loud situations and will only hear you if you're close. That said, don't press it to your mouth unless you're a rapper and even then be careful, S and P sounds can be unpleasant.
5/ Singers spend a lifetime learning mic control. Mics are complicated to use. What's the right distance from the mic? How loud should you speak? Can people hear you? Take time to think about it. Use your ears to listen. Use your eyes to see if people are comfortable with the sound and volume. Use your voice to clearly ask the audience if you are unsure before you start communicating.
6/ Beyond a certain range you can't really control the volume. Speaking too loudly into a mic doesn't make a pleasant effect - it will sound distorted. Speaking too quietly or holding the mic too far away makes the sound quality poor and often unlistenable. Let the sound person control the volume or adjust the volume yourself if that's the situation.
Remember, no one in the audience wants you to fail. They are in the audience. They want to be able to hear you clearly. Everyone is on your side and wants to hear what you have to say. You, the audience and the sound tech people all have the same goal - a comfortable listening experience.
The only thing I can offer people who go off about politician salaries and the like is that the first question of economics, and rational thought for that mater, is: IS THAT A BIG NUMBER?
It's a question many don't seem to be able to get their heads around.
I offer this simple device. Take the number. Divide it by the number of people in the constituency and then divide by 52 weeks in a year. Then you have the number on a per person per week basis and it becomes something that anyone should be able to understand and judge their own answer to the question, the most important first question of all - IS THAT A BIG NUMBER?
For example, say an MLA is paid $138k. Is that a big number?
$138k divided by about 940,000 people is about fifteen cents per person.
In other words to say politicians nickel and dime us is correct because they cost us each a nickel and a dime per year.
Divided by 52 weeks per year equals .2 cents per week per person.
Yes, one twentieth of one cent per week is what an MLA cost each Nova Scotian. And I say cent knowing it is an old time denomination of money so small we don't even use it any more.
To ask that we look at the bigger picture doesn't seem too much does it?
Writing about life, citizenship, and Nova Scotia.