Ace Your Podcast!
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Ace Your Podcast!

7 Ways To Help You Improve As A Podcast Host

Because we all suck at first.

Photo by Nigel Tadyanehondo on Unsplash

If you’ve done a lot of episodes, say 50 or more, you might occasionally be curious to go back and listen to some of your early shows. Chances are you cringed. Chances are you told yourself, “Wow, I wasn’t very good, was I?”

Everyone sucks at first.

Hosting a podcast is like any other skill, whether it’s playing an instrument, woodworking, working out, public speaking, and even running a business. We make mistakes. We learn. We do it again, but better. Even the world class in their field.

Let’s talk about ways to get better specifically at podcasting.

First, keep doing it.

This is the most important thing you can do.

Next, critique your own show.

You may not recognize some things as mistakes right away, but there will be a few things that even an untrained ear will know are not good. Write them down to reinforce what you heard. You’ll slowly start to recognize the issues while you’re recording, and can change on the fly.

Some people don’t want to go back and listen.

They feel if they hear the mistakes, they’ll be discouraged and they won’t want to do it anymore. If that’s you, then try to become more self aware as you’re recording. Pay attention to how it feels when you do or say something. Was it awkward? Did the words come out funny? Say it again, or remember it for next time.

Get outside feedback and advice.

Another set of ears can go a long way in pointing out issues you may miss. I don’t recommend asking a family member or friend, because they will sugar coat things. It’s like your mom pretending to love the drawing you gave her when you were 5. Yes, she loved that the drawing was from you, but as a work of art? Not so much.

You need someone who will give you honest feedback. They don’t have to be rude, they just need to be unafraid to say what they’re thinking. By the way, you don’t have to use this feedback. There will be times when you think what you’re already doing is better.

Make sure your show has a structure.

Does your show make sense? Is there a logical order for your content? If someone outside your show was listening, would they be able to follow along? Or are you rambling?

Be prepared. Think through what you’re going to say. Lay out a plan or an outline for your episodes. Create a template for everyone on your show to use, so they’re prepared for what’s coming and when.

If you have guests, rethink your questions.

I bet you believe you know how to ask great questions. But I’m sure you don’t.

If I asked you, “What makes a great question?,” how would you answer? Would you say your questions are designed to get your guest to tell stories? Would you say your questions are open ended or closed? Could you say why one was better than the other, and when to use each? Would you say your questions are unique, or are they the same questions everyone asks?

If you don’t recognize your style of questions in there, then you’re not asking great questions.

Pay attention to the technical things.

Outside noise, poor mic placement. Is the gain on your mic too high, causing distortion? (This is the same as “turning up your mic,” if that helps)

Here’s something you shouldn’t work on. Your voice.

Don’t play to the headphones, meaning don’t alter your voice to sound better in your ‘cans.’ It makes you sound “announcery” which is not good. Your voice is your voice. I don’t even have to hear it to know it sounds fine.

I know most people hate their voice when they hear it played back for the first time. This is because when you hear your voice in your head, you’re hearing the added resonance of the empty part of your skull (insert Dad joke here). When you hear it through speakers, that resonance isn’t there

This may have led to you trying to change it. Don’t. Not necessary.

I realize this is not everything. There are plenty of other ways to improve. My goal was to get you to start thinking about them, so you can, and will, get better as you go.

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