Just like a singer exercises their voice before a performance or a public speaker exercises their voice before a speech, podcasters should exercise their voices before a podcast. In a podcast, people have just your voice to go by, so you want it to be in tip top shape. You want to have no trouble articulating your words and pronouncing things correctly, and minimize mistakes. Your tongue and mouth are made up of muscles, and like a runner before a race, they should be exercised before using them for long periods of time. Here are some vocal exercises as well as related tips you should do before each podcast to ensure your voice comes out crisp and clear.
Go through the scales
Like a singer singing out notes as a warm up, practicing making sounds (just a long ‘mmmmm’ type sound for each note works) before your podcast to get those vocals warmed up.
Tongue twisters help with concentration and articulation. If you can say the words in a tongue twister clearly, you’ll be more likely to not “trip up” while recording a live podcast. As an added bonus, it helps exercise your tongue too. Think of it as gymnastics for your tongue! And lastly, it helps keep your mind sharp when speaking.
Relax while speaking
After a long period of talking, do your neck and throat feel very tight or strained? For some, when they speak for long periods of time, they begin to tense their neck muscles to the point that they become strained, and that strain comes through in the voice. Practice tensing and relaxing your neck muscles first while not speaking to get a feel for what contracted vs. relaxed neck muscles feel like. Then, try the same thing but while talking. To get a real feel for how you personally respond to this, read a page from a book out loud and pay attention to whether and how you start tensing up your neck muscles. Then, practice reading a long passage while consciously relaxing your neck muscles.
These are not vocal exercises per se, but deserve an honorable mention because if your lips, tongue, and jaw are “tight,” it doesn’t matter how much you’ve exercised your voice, your words can still come out garbled or as if you’re mumbling. Stretch your lips by puckering them out as far as they can go and then stretching them back into an exaggerated smile. Swallow several times to strengthen the back of the tongue area. With lips closed, shift your lower jaw to either side as far as it will go, then as far forward as it will go. These quick little movements before a podcast will give you an advantage when it comes to speaking for long periods of time.
Watch your posture
This may seem odd, but posture actually makes a difference when speaking. Remember the tip above to relax your neck and throat muscles? Try saying a couple sentences out loud as you look down at your phone or other device right now. Now, take a couple seconds to sit up straight, have your face pointing completely forward, and chin up. Now say a few sentences. Your neck should automatically feel more relaxed and speaking should come much easier to you.
For more tips on speaking during your podcast, check out this blog.