Do you want to improve your skills as a podcaster?
What radio wisdom can you implement in your podcast today?
This article reveals how radio hosts are taught to become better communicators.
When I turned my back on radio it was because I could see that creating my own platform online was the future. In my career I worked for many radio stations but never felt fully settled. I was often shoe-horned into a role and restricted by a format (which would make a poor presenter sound average and a good presenter sound average!). That’s why embracing new media is very exciting.
Podcasting is different to radio but I feel there is a crossover and that there is good information from radio that we can apply to podcasting.
Radio and podcasting are both one-to-one mediums and this is a very special relationship. So, be aware of the language you use. Is it how you would talk to a friend or have you suddenly become a broadcaster! I hear a lot of podcasters that refer to their ‘listeners’ or to the ‘audience’. This goes against the natural bond that is forming and that’s why when I present I almost always opt for ‘you’. For example:
“Hello listeners, how are you all?” Impersonal
“Hello, how are you?” Personal
“Some of you might like to find out more . . . ” Impersonal
“If you want to find out more . . .” Personal
“Tell the audience how you create an energy-efficient home.” Impersonal
“How do you create an energy-efficient home?” Personal
Always imagine you are talking to one person. You are far more likely to use language which strengthens that relationship if you take this approach.
Get to the Point
In music radio you often have a link structure with a given amount of time to talk. Sometimes this is a ridiculously small amount of time, such as 15 seconds. Yet still when I was coached I was told to get straight to the point – almost like a headline – and then move on. There were times when I’d think to myself it’s 15 seconds, surely I am getting to the point! However, in almost all cases you can deliver your message more concisely.
One of the bizarre side effects of having been trained to think this way is that I find myself reluctant to listen to certain podcasts – even with podcasters that I know have excellent information – because that same information could be conveyed in a fraction of the time. It would also improve the overall experience and leave you hungry for more.
Know Where You’re Going
Closely linked with getting to the point is knowing what you’re going to say. If you haven’t put in any preparation, then the chances of having a clear direction are very slim! A great tip that I picked up from Daniel J Lewis on The Audacity to Podcast is to create your show notes before you record your podcast. Radio could learn from podcasting in this respect, as preparation could become content for the website as well as the show. Doing it this way will save time and keep you focussed.
Become Aware of Filler Words
People choose to listen to your podcast, but they can just as easily choose to stop listening at any point and for any reason. While everyone is different and you don’t really want to change who you are to please others, you should at least become aware of what others might find annoying. For example, superfluous words such as ‘like’ add nothing but have the potential to distract your audience. Often, all these words are doing anyway is buying your brain some thinking time. In other words there’s no down side to removing them.
Everyone has different filler words, but amongst the most common are ‘you know’, ‘well’, ‘so’, ‘I think’ and ‘literally’. There are also the ‘ummms’ and ‘eerrrrrs’, which do the same thing.
Spotting and then retraining yourself to avoid these fillers is not something you can do overnight, but more a long term goal. Slowing down your delivery can be a big help. Also don’t be scared of silence as it’s preferencial to any filler.
Throw Forward to What’s Coming Up
In radio we do this a lot because people are constantly dipping in and out. Although it’s slightly different with podcasting, it’s a good idea to remind your listeners what great content is ahead, particularly at the beginning of the podcast. This keeps them focussed on what they are going to get out of it.
What other tips have helped you improve your podcast?