Mic check: Make yourself heard

Gavin Gaddis

One can project an entirely wrong idea about them with improper mic usage.

I attended a lecture where a world-famous expert was gladly fielding questions about his field of expertise.

A chipper, blonde, middle-aged woman firmly grasped the mic, held it approximately seven football fields away from her mouth, and asked her question in a polite conversational tone.

The question was lost in the cathedral-like echo of the room – which was fitting as we were in a cathedral.

“Can we make sure that mic is working? I can’t hear anything,” the expert said, attempting to shift blame.

An assistant flicked the power switch twice to pretend-fix the problem, then handed the mic back to the nice woman, positioning it several inches from her mouth.

The woman re-positioned it to her liking and shouted her question across an echo-filled room, with what little sound the mic actually registered making the echo worse.

Whatever legitimate discussion she could have inspired was lost in the crowd’s attempt at cracking the enigma code of her question.

Don’t be this person.

I’ve been noticing a running trend as of late, and as a Z-list campus celebrity, I feel it’s time to address this issue.

College students must consider how they present themselves.

Presentation is key in every facet of campus life.

If you show up to class regularly with prepared questions, turn in work on time and are generally an agreeable person, you are far more likely to receive support from that instructor later down the line.

College is all about learning new skills, some more important than others.

Here is an incredibly important life lesson – I hope all of my readers pay close attention, because knowing this one skill is very important to your life: you, an adult who is getting a college degree and wants to operate as a normal human being in the world, need to know how to use a microphone.

There will come a point in your life when you need to grab a wireless microphone and speak.

Accept that fact.

The use of a microphone is as constant a looming threat as ducks in the UC fountain, Burger King running out of chicken fries or Mike Pence.

You’re introducing one of APB’s guest speakers.

You’re asking questions at a guest lecture.

You want to ask a question during a Q&A at Comic-Con.

You’ve gone back in time to speak at a McCarthy communist trial.

No matter what, you need to know how to approach that black stick with a bulbous silver mesh on the end.

Using a wireless mic is no difficult task.

Simply grasp the body of the microphone, hold it within four or five inches of your mouth at a slight angle – these mics are supposedly omni-directional but the main receiver is on the top – and project your statement in a clear, confident, strong voice.

You’ll find your words flowing out of the speakers like audible honey.

The audience will love you.

Presenting yourself is as important, if not more important, than what you’re actually doing.

I tutor math part-time at a community college.

Every semester I waltz into the room early with a smile on my face and a confident demeanor.

I’ll have half the class assuming I’m the instructor by the time the actual instructor arrives five minutes late.

Present yourself well and you’ll go far.

Present yourself poorly and you might just mildly confuse your favorite science fiction actor at Comic Con, or derail a lecture for half an hour while the expert attempts to dissect what they think they heard.