Why did you get into podcasting?
There are a lot of reasons I did, but one was that I wanted to share my voice with the world!
My name’s Sal and I recently did a podcast with an expert voice coach (which you can listen to here), and I’d like to share some of the things that I’ve learned!
Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog, to get more tips and my monthly podcast traffic stats :).
Here we go!
1. Slow down when speaking
Chances are, you’re speaking too fast. I have this problem more than anyone. I want to hold everyone’s attention and get out a bunch of information, as quickly as possible.
But, when you rush, stumble over your words, and use up your breath before you’re done with your message, you’re sacrificing quality for quantity.
The key here is to deliver a message with proper emphasis so that you’re listeners really internalize it. It’s not to just broadcast at them like a talking head.
For me, and some of you out there, speaking quickly is a defense mechanism because we’re afraid of losing someone’s attention.
You shouldn’t be spewing out words, like you’re a fervent talk show host. You should be speaking TO the listeners, like they are your friend. That’s how you’ll engage them.
2. Use pregnant pauses for emphasis
If you’re like me, you also fear silence.
But, watch any charismatic speaker and you’ll see that they use silence to their advantage.
They use pregnant pauses to emphasize key messages, take a breath to get ready for a next segment, or make the listener really take in what they just said.
Pauses create variety, which keeps the listener guessing and tuned in to your frequency. If you’re constantly going at one speed with little variety, it becomes much easier to tune you out.
3. Pay attention to your speaking volume
Even if you’re confident, a weak speaking volume can communicate fear, anxiety, or discomfort.
Don’t shout, but make sure that you’re speaking assertively and not trailing off. Don’t speak as though you’re looking for validation. Don’t make the listener strain to hear you.
You can also always do some audio editing to improve the base or volume of your voice.
The key here is to develop a natural speaking volume, which communicates confidence and is pleasant to listen to.
Once you have that, then you can vary your volume or pitch to emphasize points to keep a listener’s attention.
4. Be upbeat and positive
There’s no doubt that we should always be ourselves, but when we’re in public or communicating via a public forum, we should be our BEST selves.
We naturally want to listen to people who are upbeat, positive, and give off good vibes. We don’t want to listen to someone at a party who is a downer, sad, uncertain, or gives off low-energy vibes.
I hate to say that, but it’s true, and I’m actually part of the latter category.
Spend 30 minutes before the podcast episode preparing yourself to be positive, happy, and energetic.
Get yourself riled up and passionate. I like to run over talking points to warm up my vocal cords, but you could also listen to music, chat with a friend on the phone, or get some coffee.
5. Pay attention to how you’re breathing
If your vocal cords are the strings of a violin, then your voice is the bow.
Your breath is what powers the machine. You need to be in control of it if you want to speak effectively and have proper intonation, speed, and pitch.
I noticed that when I’m nervous, I naturally breathe differently than when I’m calm. This effects my speaking speed and the above mentioned variables. Therefore, when I’m nervous, I need to consciously be aware of my breath and make sure that it’s consistent, regardless of how I’m feeling internally.
The name of the game is to disconnect your emotions from your pitch, tone, volume, breathing, and etc if they are not playing to your advantage.
Ideally, your emotions should be in sync with how you SHOULD be sounding (excited, enthusiastic, confident, calm), but that’s not always the case, so you need to recalibrate.
6. Your voice = your personality
When I first started, I thought that the most important thing about delivering information is the quality of the information. But that’s not true.
It’s also about the carrier of that information. It’s about their personality (particularly if you want to sell something).
People buy from and connect with other people, not static content.
If you sound angry, people are going to think you’re an angry person. If you sound meek, people will think your content isn’t good. If you sound excited, people will be excited to listen to the rest of the episode, because something good is going to come.
People use your voice as a cue for how they should be feeling about your content or your message.
Listen to your own podcasts multiple times throughout an interval (like a month). I listen to mine when I edit them, take notes, and when they come out. It gives me a bit more perspective on how I’m sounding.
By having some distance between the time you recorded the episode and the time you listen, you’ll get a more objective view.
7. Tell a story
Although this isn’t a part of voice quality, Tracy Goodwin, the expert I interviewed, is a former actor and she had some great tips for crafting a compelling story.
People connect with stories. I personally think that they are the best way to instill emotions and communicate key bits of information.
By combining varying pitch/volume, you can tell an engaging story that has your listener’s complete attention.
As you’ll notice, this is all about sustaining the attention of your listeners. Stories are a great way to do that, whether you tell them yourself or bring them out of guests that you interview.
8. Forget all of this once you learn it
Lastly, I think that you should forget all of this once you really learn it.
That doesn’t mean that you should stop employing these techniques and paying attention to your breathing, but once it becomes a habit, you should stop thinking about it.
A great speaker doesn’t memorize their speech or constantly think about what they’re going to say next. They’re paying attention to the audience. They’re feeling themselves in the moment. They are completely focused on the task at hand.
Learning technique helps you let go and be in the moment when you’re podcasting. That’s where authentic reactions and serendipitous moments really come from.
If you’d like to learn more, listen to my interview with this expert voice coach and don’t forget to subscribe to this blog for more free content on podcasting!