Formal but Friendly | Podcast Presentation Skills #1
You make your own podcast. You want to communicate your message effectively. Naturally, you want it to sound structured but not scripted. We've talked a little about invisible scripting in the past, for example.
What about your delivery? Have you even thought about your tone of voice or the wording you're using? Okay, let's cover a few tips to put you on the right path.
Most podcasting veterans and radio jocks alike will advise against having a script written out word for word. It'll sound more like you're reading than talking. Instead, consider having a list of headings and notes to read from. The shorter and more concise they are, the easier it'll be for your presenting to flow naturally.
For example; if I write in my notes `Podcasting - formal but friendly. Address 1 person,` I might end up actually saying something like,
"So, you probably want to come across as professional, but not too stiff. After all, you want to sound like you're having a genuine conversation. With that in mind, try to act like you're speaking to one person at a time, as if they're right in the room with you. Avoid talking to everyone at once. It'll help you sound more natural."
The more familiar you are with your notes, the easier it'll be to convey them in your own words. A good thing to practice is to do a dry run, bouncing off your notes to see how it sounds before you hit Record. Check this article out for more script-writing tips.
Don't hold back. Don't be needlessly humble and don't sound like you're about to apologise for bothering people!
You're bringing them great content, but you've got to sound like you believe it. That said, you want to be assertive, but not aggressive. Try smiling as you're talking. The more fun you're having, the more that'll come across.
Again, the more you know your script, your topic, your podcast structure, the easier your words will flow. You'll sound effortless and confident.
Also, be mindful of your pace and pitch; make sure your pacing is suitably engaging. You don't want to come off too sluggish and deliberate. That said, don't rush your script or you'll end up stumbling. Plus, your audience needs time to absorb what they're hearing.
Regarding your pitch, be sure to keep it varied - avoid the dreaded monotone.
Remember to Breathe
Despite us all learning to breathe before we're even born, many of us struggle to moderate our breathing when talking under pressure.
Try and remember to breath steadily and deeply. If you're anxious, you can easily forget and your breathing will become erratic, affecting the quality of your voice.
If this happens during a recording, just stop and take a deep breath before carrying on. And don't worry, this happens to professional singers, too.
The language you use is important - conside your phrasing and whether it's jargon heavy. Maybe it is but does it suit your target audience? A lesson I learned in broadcasting was to "treat your script as if you're trying to convey something to a friend."
It's also a good idea to keep some water close by, just in case you dry up and start croaking.
Lastly, if you feel like you're inexplicably struggling to pronounce your words, have a think about how you might phrase certain things differently. Maybe you've put too many awkward words next to each other?
"Rural jurors adjourn the débutante adjutant before bidding the conjurer adieu."
Okay, that's not something you're likely to say on a podcast, but you get the picture. And if you find you're having difficulty pronouncing words in general, here's a tip on enunciation;
Try reading your script with a pen or your fingers in your mouth for 30 seconds - it'll sound awful, obviously - and then try it again normally.
You should hopefully now sound a lot clearer than before. Think of it as waking your tongue up by forcing it to work hard.