Microphone Skills 101

April 8, 2008 by Mobile Beat Staff Writer

Your ability to communicate and motivate over the microphone is second only to your music selection in the order of importance. This skill requires a lot of practice and self-criticism on your own to improve your presentation over the microphone.Personally, I find it hard to teach good MC skills. This is something that requires lots of practice and self-criticism! There are a few ways to develop your presentation and skills. The first thing I would recommend is for you to find a way to observe some top DJ’s at a wedding. Offer to act as an assistant for free, if you are sure that the DJ is of top quality. If there are no qualified DJ’s in your area, consider traveling.

My company has an exchange program with a DJ company that is located an hour away. The owner of that company sends his DJ’s to observe our staff, and vice versa. This way, you get more than one perspective on how to handle yourself on a microphone. This exchange program was very beneficial to our staff, as we got a lot of new, fresh ideas from the other company. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of observing other experienced DJ’s in action…your skills will improve dramatically if you do.

If you get some new ideas from observing another DJ, I would recommend that you practice them in your home first, prior to trying them out in front of 200 people. This will allow you to polish your skills first.

The second thing I would recommend is to videotape yourself at your next few events. You will be your own worst critic, and will be able to make some nice adjustments to your mic presentation. It is also worth the time to videotape while rehearsing at home. Face it, we just are not able to hear ourselves and see ourselves as others do. Videotape gives you the full picture and allows you to work on facial expressions, like a tense brow, and distracting speech mannerisms, like…you know…before a live audience notices them.

Allow me to point out a few mistakes commonly made by newer DJ’s, or DJ’s who have not had any training (I say this, because I have seen a number of 3 to 5 years DJ’s who are severely lacking in mic skills). One of the most common mistakes that I see, is a DJ sounding too boring on the mic. I am sure you know what I am talking about…the voice that sounds “monotone” with no fluctuation in energy. Your voice should sound enthusiastic and professional. This means that you have to develop that “DJ” voice. Be careful about the other extreme…………I call it the “circus announcer syndrome”. This is where the DJ is overly enthusiastic and energetic to the point that it is obnoxious. This is just as bad as the monotone DJ with no personality. One way to avoid either of these is to remind yourself to smile before you speak. This helps to project enthusiasm and also adds to your appearance.

The second most common mistake I see, are DJ’s who do not project their voice very well, because they hold the microphone 8 inches away from their mouth. Your lips should be within a couple of inches from the microphone, and you should speak up, without actually shouting. Your mixer should have the volume to the mic turned up as loud as it will go, without getting feedback or a ringing sound. Everyone in the room should be able to hear your voice clearly.

The third most common mistake I see, are DJ’s who talk too fast, and spit out a few sentences before having everyone’s attention. Generally, all of your announcements on the mic should begin with “Ladies and Gentlemen, may I have your attention please”. If you see that people are still ignoring you, follow up with “Once again, may I please have everyone’s attention”. This will go a long way to ensure that everyone hears your announcements.

Now lets talk about your accent. That’s right…………your ACCENT!!!!! I have seen a variety of DJ’s, all with their own sound. The better ones find a way to overcome the accent that is prevalent for their geographic area. It doesn’t matter where you live; your geographic area DOES have a lingo that you may not pay attention to normally. As a professional DJ you must throw out that accent that you have developed, and try your best to develop a professional voice.

If you plan to refer to someone by name, I strongly recommend that you write it down on a piece of paper, and have it within view. This way, if you forget the name, you can easily refer to your notes. It’s a good idea to write a difficult name phonetically; write it as it sounds. A person’s name is one of his/her most valued possessions. Proper pronunciation is noticed and appreciated, especially for one who is used to having his or her name announced incorrectly.

Additionally, try to plan out what you are going to say in advance, prior to opening the mic. This is especially important for those DJ’s who have not yet mastered the skill of opening a mic, and “winging it”. This is something else that you can write out in advance and practice…practice…practice. There is nothing worse than DJs who get on the mic, and starts rambling on, stuttering and embarrassing themselves!! You can prevent that, by carefully planning what you are going to say, in advance.

Your microphone skills are very important, especially if you plan on doing weddings. Practice your skills as much as you possibly can…………..a polished act will come in due time!
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Basic Microphone Phrasing

The following are a few basic suggestions to get you started. It should be emphasized, however, that we cannot write down everything for you. Even if we could, it is essential that you develop a comfortable style of your own.
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Introducing Yourself

“Good evening/afternoon, ladies and gentleman. Before I get the music started, I would like to introduce myself; my name is__________, and I’m with the D.J. Connection. I’ll be playing a variety of music until _______o’clock. I’ll be taking danceable requests throughout the afternoon/evening, so please feel free to come up and make your requests”.
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Company Promo’s

Promotional announcements that “plug” the company are excellent ways to remind the guests at a given event know who we are. It is a great way to attract future business. Company promos should be given 2 to 4 times per event, except at weddings where you should limit yourself to twice. Your promotional announcements should be placed after the end of a successful set. By giving a promo at the end of a successful set, you are reminding the guests who you are at a time when everyone is having fun! Here are a couple of ways to give promotional announcements:

1. Don’t’ forget, we are The D.J. Connection……for all of your dances, parties, and weddings!

2. For the best in disc-jockey entertainment, we are the D.J. Connection!

Birthday Announcements

The D.J. Connection would like to wish _______________ a very

Happy Birthday! I would like to invite everyone to join in and sing happy birthday to:________.

play the song happy birthday after making the above announcement
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Miscellaneous Chit-Chat

When playing a slow song, “it’s time to slow things down now, with:__________.

When playing a request, “Here’s ______________, by request”.

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Mobile Beat Staff Writer (228 Posts)

This is the general editors account for Mobile Beat Magazine and Website. Who reads Mobile Beat online and in print and attends Mobile Beat events? DJs, VJs and KJs to start with, especially those who own and operate mobile entertainment services. They provide music, video, lighting and a myriad other entertainment choices for corporate events, wedding receptions, dances and innumerable other gatherings.


Filed Under: Performing