Hand held microphones, both wired and wireless are the most common for vocals and used for Q&A in a corporate setting. Though they are the most common microphone seen, they rarely get held or used properly.
If held too far away, you increase the risk of feedback or not being heard.
Too close, and Plosives or Sibilance could be an issue.
Plosives – say Pepper or Baby, and the P/B will stand out as a louder sound than the rest of the word. These force the air straight out from your mouth.
Sibilance – say Seashells or Dissonant and the Ss will stand out more. These almost force the air to go straight down.
Ideal placement for a mic when used for speech, would be about 2 inches away from your mouth, and an inch down towards your chest, just missing the air forced out by both the Sibilance and the Plosives.
For singing – which is considerably louder than speech, 4 inches is a good starting point for vocalists. While every gig and mic is slightly different, this is a great starting place.
If you like to eat the mic, please bring your own! No-one wants to have your saliva (and germs) all over their mic. And sadly there is little time to clean them between gigs, let alone between bands.