If your podcast consists of monologues rather than interviews, the temptation is to keep the quality high by scripting each episode.
And there’s a lot to be said for this.
Scripted monologues can be highly informative and a joy to listen to. Why read a blog post when I could listen to one?
You can even double up the impact of your work by blogging and podcasting the same material.
The challenge is to make sure that they don’t sound scripted. Luckily there are multiple ways to do this.
Know your message
If you know what you want to say, and what the most important point you’re trying to make is, keep this in mind throughout.
Then if you go off your script you can be sure that you’re speaking to the topic in hand, and keeping your ad lib relevant to the rest of the piece.
Script, practice, rescript
The written word is different from the spoken word.
Once you’ve written what you want to say, practice out loud.
Use the script as reference but try not to read it. Record your practice session and then create bullet points out of this recorded script for the next rehearsal.
Practice again, working from these new bullet points. Revise anything on your list that you say differently.
This way, when you come to record, your outline reflects the way you speak naturally.
Pay attention to posture
Recording slumped over your equipment with your head pointing down at your notes is likely to result in a recording that sounds very flat. Record standing up, and project if possible.
Practice every day
Practice speaking every day, and be prepared to dislike the way you sound for quite a while. It’s ok to be bad at something to start with.
The more you practice recording yourself daily, the easier it is to focus on specific goals, like eliminating ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ as you speak.
Steal like an artist
Which podcasters do you love listening to?
Try to imitate how they sound in order to analyse what they’re doing differently.
It’s ok to be a tribute act as you learn your skill. And solocasting is a skill, which is why it needs to be practiced as often as possible.
‘De-um’ your work
When I worked at the BBC as a sound engineer, a good deal of audio editing was ‘de-umming.’
This just means going through a sound file in a linear fashion, removing ‘ums’ ‘ers’ and crutch words like, ‘you know’, ‘basically’ and ‘well’ from the file.
These can be distracting to listen to and are best removed. As you practice, you will get better at eliminating them from your speech.
What techniques do you use to remove the scripted sound from your podcast episodes?