Ace Your Podcast!
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Ace Your Podcast!

5 Signs It’s Time To Shut Up On Your Podcast

Yes, silence can be your friend. Here’s how to use it.

Photo by Ocean Biggshott on Unsplash

A common problem with many podcast hosts is they talk too much. Even if you’re the only host, sometimes silence is your best choice.

This happens when you feel you have to fill every single moment of your episodes with words. If you have that urge to continue talking because you’re trying to fill the space, that’s when you’ll start using umms and ahs. Yes, you can edit them out, but do you really want to deal with the time and tediousness this will lead to?

Also, using umms and ahs will signal to your listeners that you’ve either lost your train of thought, or that you’re not prepared, or that you’re not paying attention.

Don’t flounder. Don’t ramble. It’s ok if you pause to think. Unless it’s several seconds, and even then, your audience will not notice or care, and silence is much easier to edit out.

Another moment to shut up is when you’re no longer talking about your show topic.

How many times have you listened to an episode where the hosts spend 15–20 minutes chatting about something completely random?

People tuned in for a reason.

They did a search for topics they find interesting, and they found your show. Only now you’ve lost them because you believed a 10-minute casual chat with a co-host about your vacation wouldn’t bother anyone. You’ve convinced yourself these kinds of chats will endear you to your audience, that they’ll see you as human. And that’s fine for short interludes.

But do it too long, or too often, and people will start screaming, “Who cares!” and they will move on. And once they’re gone, trust me, they’re not coming back.

Of course this doesn’t apply to shows that are all about the personalities, and your audience expects to hear your take on topical or random subjects. But you’d better be a household name. You should also keep in mind that ‘Seinfeld’ type shows about nothing will rarely show up in searches.

Bottom line, if your podcast is about something specific, shut up and limit the other stuff.

Another time to stop talking is when someone else is talking.

Even if you already have a response to what they’re saying or asking, let them finish the thought so that the audience will have context when you answer.

This is especially true if you have multiple people on the show. Too many voices at once will confuse your audience, and they may also miss something important that’s being said. Work out a system before recording. Maybe ask everyone to give a silent signal when they want to speak. Most of the time we know when someone has finished a thought, so wait for that.

And this is really important when interviewing a guest. Don’t interrupt them needlessly. Others may find you rude. Let the guest finish their thoughts. You should be actively listening anyway.

If your podcast is about something emotional, silence can be powerful.

Say a guest has just told a story about a difficult incident, perhaps one that leads to tears. Don’t respond right away. Give your guest a little time to pull themself together. This will also give listeners time to absorb what they just heard.

This can be powerful on other types of podcasts as well. If you make a powerful statement, something you want to emphasize, say it, then be silent for a few seconds.

Finally, shut up if your podcast is going too long.

Learn to recognize when you’ve exhausted a topic, or it’s no longer compelling. It’s okay to leave something on the table, this could be the basis of a future episode.

I’ve said enough.

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