When you decide to jump into podcasting, most of us get the urge to grab all the key podcast equipment, including a killer microphone and audio software. Tweaking the settings on these tools can help you fine-tune your recordings. But the truth is, you already have a key piece of equipment that needs fine-tuning: your voice!
Your voice is what helps you share your message with your audience, and you’ll want to make sure it’s perfectly clear and distinct. Before you hit “record,” there are a few things you should do to get better audio every time—with a little practice.
You’ve heard of the whole “eight glasses a day” thing, right? If you’ve never really bothered to consider how hydrated you are, now is the time to change that! Note that this first tip is deceptively tricky: it’s easy to feel like your throat is perfectly fine, but that can change pretty fast once you start talking without interruption for a few minutes. Having a properly hydrated throat makes it easy to talk and helps you avoid those dry clicks, whistles, and pops you make with a dry throat. Don’t just down a glass of water before you start recording, though; make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day!
2. Practice Breath Control
If you’ve ever performed in a choir, you’ll already know how important breath control can be for someone who uses their voice on a regular basis. The same is true of podcasters—though maybe not to the same extreme. You’ll want to learn to control your breathing, including noisy inhales and exhales, to keep your audio sounding nice and smooth. Also, you’ll want to take advantage of natural pauses to take short breaths. All of this gets easier the more you practice and listen to yourself on your recordings.
3. Warm Up
There’s nothing worse than going into a recording “cold,” meaning that you start recording and speaking after you’ve spent a while not talking. Do a few tongue twisters or practice your prepared speech aloud to warm up your muscles, and play with your mic positioning as you do so. It can keep you from stumbling over your words later or from having to clear up a scratchy or dry-sounding voice on your audio.
4. Slow Down
It’s natural to speed up your speech when you’re nervous or excited—but it can make it hard for listeners to understand you. If your audience is going to internalize what they’re hearing, it helps to slow down your fevered pace (without getting unnaturally slow!) and engage them with the same casual pace you would use with a friend.
5. Notice Your Speaking Volume
We’ve already mentioned how important it is to check your audio levels before you hit record, but even after you’ve done that, it’s still important to consider your speaking volume. If your voice gets low in certain sections as you say something under your breath, or if you start shouting to get your message across, it can affect your audio quality. Make sure you listen to your recordings to take note of any major volume changes and start to develop a good speaking volume over time.
The unspoken final step is, of course, to practice these tips and listen to yourself regularly. By putting these tips to good use, you’ll find yourself naturally improving your speech in a way that really impacts the audio quality of your podcast. Be sure to check out the blog for more helpful tips to get your podcast running smoothly!