How to use a microphone rationally during public speaking

Micro­phones are com­mon tech­nol­ogy and yet few peo­ple un­der­stand how they work. For our pur­poses here, there are uni­di­rec­tional micro­phones and om­ni­di­rec­tional micro­phones.

A uni­di­rec­tional micro­phone only records the sound from one di­rec­tion. If it’s pointed at the mouth of the speaker it won’t record noise from the au­di­ence which makes the re­sult­ing record­ing bet­ter.

If it’s how­ever pointed at the ceiling while it’s in front of the mouth of the speaker it will do a poor job at record­ing the speaker.

This leads to the first rule of micro­phone us­age:
Hold the micro­phone point­ing to­wards your mouth.

Micro­phones re­act to sound waves and sound waves are move­ment of air. If you ex­hale into a micro­phone, the micro­phone will record the ex­hale. Given New­tons laws, the ex­hale isn’t om­ni­di­rec­tional ei­ther but the air that comes out of your mouth from the ex­hale has a clear di­rec­tion. If you hold the micro­phone in front of your mouth, it will get hit by the air.

Our sec­ond rule of micro­phone us­age is:

Keep the micro­phone to the right side of your mouth if you hold it in your right hand and cor­re­spond­ingly on the left side of your mouth if you hold it with your left hand.

Let com­bine the two rules into rule zero:

Hold the micro­phone to the side of your mouth in a way that points to­wards your mouth.

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