One of the most vital elements you want to remember when hosting a podcast is to be yourself. Let your personality shine through with each and every episode you do.
It may seem intimidating to have a microphone in front of you, but keep this in mind: you’re really only talking to the people in the room with you. If you’re podcasting solo, then it’s just you and your microphone. When you compare this to a presentation done in front of a large audience, the thought of doing a podcast becomes much more comforting.
It’s all about finding your comfort zone. And to do that, here are seven easy ways to help you get comfortable on the mic and begin to shape your podcast hosting skill set:
Do practice recordings. When the best golfers in the world get ready for a tournament, they don’t just head to the first tee and bomb their first drive down the fairway. They practice. A LOT. In order to build your hosting skills, you’ll need to do the same. Interview a friend, family member, or colleague. Or, just record solo. Once you’re done, listen to the recording for elements of your delivery that you like, as well as elements you would change. Don’t worry about editing the recording – just get a feel for your voice on the mic. You’ll be amazed how comfortable you get the more you sit down in front of your microphone and just start talking.
Listen to your favorite podcasts and focus on how the host delivers their message. You can listen to shows you’ve consumed before or choose new releases. Either way, the exercise here is to focus on the delivery of the host, not so much the content of the show. It will help you discover why that podcast is appealing and give you an up close look at how that host communicates with their audience. From there, emulate the good qualities that you hear while putting your own personal spin on your delivery so it’s unique to you.
Listen to radio and TV talk shows, as well as newscasters. This, combined with the aforementioned exercise of listening to podcast hosts, will give you a very well-rounded approach for how you’ll want to deliver your message when you begin creating episodes of your podcast.
Don’t worry about making mistakes. If you mess something up while recording, that’s OK. This is why editing exists. Only you and your co-hosts and guests will know a mistake was made. And when it comes to any kind of production, mistakes are made all the time. You could even go so far as to save those mistakes and compile a blooper reel to release once your show gets some traction. There’s no getting around it: everyone makes mistakes…and everyone loves a good blooper reel.
Listen to your guest’s responses. Active Listening is key. Be sure to listen to the answers your guest provides versus trying to navigate where you want the conversation to go next. If you aren’t listening, you may ask a question at a later point in your interview that your guest already covered in detail. By actively listening, their responses will generate follow-up questions, thus turning your interview into a laid-back, informative conversation that will appeal to your audience.
Remember: Silence is your friend. If you need to pause after a guest finishes their response so you ensure you’re steering the ship properly, do it. Don’t worry about silence. You’ll be able to edit those points in post-production so gaps between speaking points sound natural. It’s more important to gather your thoughts and keep the conversation flowing.
Do your research and know your topics. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many hosts try to “wing it” when it comes to producing their show. Take time to research your guest. Make notes on subjects you’ll be talking about. Going back to active listening and building a conversation, accomplishing this will be much easier if you’re fluent in the topics up for discussion.
The more you podcast, the more comfortable you’re going to become. Hosting a podcast is not unlike anything else in the world: practice will make you better.
I covered this topic on Episode 2 of Pod Theory. Listen below and subscribe wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts!