We’ve all been there. The big presentation is about to begin. You tap the mic. “Is this thing on?” you joke. And there it is, ear-splitting feedback that makes your audience cringe. Not exactly how you wanted to start the biggest sales meeting of the quarter, right?

About the only thing worse than the audiovisual equipment in your corporate boardroom failing during a big meeting or videoconference is to experience bad sound — sometimes, we’ve learned, caused by user error.

These tips will make sure people remember your message — not your audio mistakes — during your next corporate presentation.

1. This one’s common sense, but keep the microphone away from other sources of sound, including the speakers. (We all know what happens when a mic is held too close to a speaker.) Ideally, your corporate boardroom will have installed ceiling speakers or wall-mounted speakers to disperse sound evenly across the room without interference.

2. If you’re using multiple microphones for multiple speakers (such as during a teleconference), place each microphone three times farther away from the other microphones as it is from the presenter.

3. If you’re using a wireless lapel mic, make sure the microphone does not rub against your clothing and pick up that sound instead of your voice. Similarly, avoid wearing large jewelry or jewelry that might “jingle” when you move. The microphone may pick this up.

4. With a handheld mic, try to keep the mic in one location. Avoid moving it around too much. If you are using a handheld mic on a stand, keep it on the stand and avoid handling it. Again, this reduces mechanical noise.

5. Give yourself 5 minutes to review the systems before the meeting. Turn on the mic and test it before the room is filled with people. A sound check is acceptable, but if something does go wrong, it can set the tone for the whole meeting or presentation.

Do your sound check to an empty room, and then another “just for show” or to lighten the mood and break the ice as you begin, so you can proceed with confidence. When you joke, “Is this thing on?” you’ll know that, indeed, it is, and your audience is set to hear crystal clear sound.