Saturday, January 07, 2006
Tips I've learnt in podcasting over the last year...
I make no bones about the fact that I'm a little technically challenged.
I am pretty confident that I can make blog entries, I'm very happy with the literary side of things and don't struggle with content - one of the positive sides to ADD (eh Jen?)
Podcasting is not just about technical expertise. I've spent a bit of money on my lovely mixer and have a great microphone, but that really is just the start.
I often get emails from budding podcasters, it's lovely to see that there are fresh faces and talent springing up.
The requests I receive are asking me less about the tech side and more in relation to structure and content. Presenting a podcast actually has a lot of similarities to discussing matters with a client, or presenting in court.
Presentation is key, I find, and I know that I am certainly not Mr. perfection here, but I have used my voice professionally now for 20 odd years and learnt something along the way - my twelve months in podcasting is also teaching me a few tricks in the podcast arena too.
I know that much of what I may say may well be common sense, or not fit your style. Not all will be relevant either. I've cribbed some content from an email I sent a new podcaster who asked for some advice. I hope some may be of relevance to you.
1. I always talk as though I'm chatting to a group of mates in the pub - don't worry about performing otherwise it'll sound stilted. I learnt this while talking to a Judge or Jury - people always warm to you if they think YOU are talking to them and not an assumed persona. It's the diference between fake and genuine.
The master of this is Adam Curry, he's a real pleasure to listen to (I'm not referring to content here, I'm making the point in relation to style) as is Lynn Parsons. Listen to the speed of articulation, you'll see my point.
2. Audio quality goes a long way, both naturally and technically - a clear voice is a much easier experience than a crackly quiet, voice - I've even struggled with good quality audio and a mumbling, quiet monotone voice which makes me immediately reach for the off button.
3. Use limited notes. This is really important, if you've ever mooted or sat in on a debate, this highlights my point.
Just have headnotes rather than an entire script, it'll bring the intonation out in your voice and your personality - another court trick. Headnotes with subheadings keep you on track, written script can straightjacket and impersonalise. Podcasting is about realism, so keep it real.
4. Prepare, prepare, and... prepare. You will struggle if you don't have the material at hand.
5. One of my preferences, but, don't cut out 'erms' and pauses so the sound is plastic and sanitised. When you speak to your friends or family, you don't emulate a BBC weather report, so, again keep it real. If you're new and struggling, you may benefit from a few edits, but don't worry excessively about this.
6. Keep the language simple and clear; I paid £15,000 ( $25,000) for a top advocate / Deputy High Court Judge to present a very complicated Chancery Case recently at court for one day. This chap was the top Barrister in his feld. I was bowled over by his simple use of language and engaging relaxed style, it taught me a great deal.
The move in legal circles of late has been to keep English plain and clear. It's so much easier to deal with, and much more accessible by the public at large.
Folks I speak to professionally want someone who they can relate to, not someone who thinks they're on a different planet. Your listener is no exception.
7. This is really important. Speak slower than you usually do in conversation, particularly for our overseas listeners as they really struggle with some pretty obvious words sometimes. Again, another court trick. It commands the listener to listen and really take note rather than miss bits of speech and glaze over.
I'm sure there are more, but I'm on dire need of a cup of tea. See you soon.