(Click Here) for the podcast version of this article
Okay, I think I’m actually leaving the forest behind me for now, at least for the moment, while we move on to the actual preparation for a podcast. I think we’ve spent enough time in discussion and it is time to consider action. In other words, it’s time to quit talking about it and start doing it.
With all of the neat technology available to us these days, there is absolutely no reason why we can’t turn out a great podcast and have it sound as if we have been doing it for years. Even if you are an absolute beginner, one that has never done even one podcast before, or possibly, never even talked into a microphone at some time or other, you can make a successful podcast and you can do it sooner than later. Why, I would even venture a guess that you can even surprize yourself with the production you can turn out using the tricks, techniques, software and hardware I’ve mentioned here numerous times over the last six months or so.
Now that I have said all of that, let’s not forget that there are still a few important things we need to remember. If you have been along for at least part of the ride we’ve taken so far over the last several months, you know one of my main complaints and objectives has been to not neglect the details. I know you’ve heard people say ‘the devil is in the details’, but I totally disagree. Paying attention to small details can make a big difference between a mediocre and fantastic podcast. There are certain things you need to work on as far as technique goes, and then there is the fact that you need to relax and get comfortable behind the microphone. Let’s talk a little bit about that, now.
I know I’m pretty opinionated when it comes to certain procedures and the resulting final products people turn out, but, and I know I’ve said it before, if something is worth doing I think it is worth doing well. Why in the world would anyone want to waste their time turning out a podcast that is full of poor production techniques and sloppy mistakes that could have been avoided with just a little forethought, practice and preparation. I’ll even borrow line from the ‘audio generator’ folks and say, “If you can talk on the phone” you can make an audio blog, podcast or whatever. All you have to do is talk to the microphone as if you are talking to a friend. I know that sounds too easy, but it is true (at least to get you started) and it could very well be that that concept is what it takes for you to be able to relax and just let your conversation flow. Don’t think of yourself as speaking in front of hundreds of people that you don’t know. Think of it as speaking to someone you’ve known for years and you are very comfortable sharing your thoughts and knowledge with.
Why not write out your script? I know that requires extra effort, but it can make you more effective in delivering your message. I realize there are some of you out there that just like to fly by the seat of your pants. If you can do it, great! However, not many can and even those that can will have at least some form of an outline of what they want to talk about. Listen. There is no shame in having your topics written down in outline form. Doing this can definitely help you stay on track.
You’re the one that makes the choice of what you need as far as this procedure is concerned. I have a friend that makes outlines from his thoughts when he is preparing to speak with one or two words per thought. I have heard him speak and I have seen his notes. I am amazed at how much he can say with so little written down. Myself, I am just the opposite. I like to write out my podcast word for word in article form, but, I am in no way bound to every word it contains. I can, and do , edit on the fly. That means I can add to it, or subtract from it, as I go.
So what does all this mean? It simply means that I have a fairly well organized script to follow that I have taken the time to research and write. That means I feel pretty confident as I talk. It allows me to concentrate on getting my point across and not have to concentrate so hard on what I want to say.
That’s why I say it is well worth taking the time to prepare. If you are doing a solo webcast, I think it is even more important to have that preparation. It makes your presentation flow.
If you have two or more hosts, your job can be quite a bit easier. Talk does come a little easier between two people. Even though I still think it is a good idea to have at least and outline with multiple hosts, it probably isn’t as necessary to have a full script. Usually, the outline gives direction when the flow of ideas reaches a lull.
So, now you need to decide several things if you want to get started successfully with your podcast:
- You need to decide what software you want to use. There are many to choose from and some are easier to use than others. I still recommend ‘Audacity’ for several reasons. It is free, it is easy to use and, as if that is not enough, it does a great job.
- Make an outline or write a script, once you have decided on a subject.
- Practice reading through your script. This will help you become more comfortable when you actually ‘Go Live’ in front of the mic (or audience.) The more you read, (or talk), in front of the mic, the more you learn about how to make your talk interesting and the easier it becomes to sound natural and confident. In general, you learn learn your craft better.
- Practice recording with your software program. This will give you the chance to check your levels and be sure you are able to capture your production. (There is nothing worse than finding you have just made something that is unusable and having to do it over.)
If you will take the time to prepare your equipment, your production and yourself, there is very little room for failure. Thus, the title of this article; “Failure is not an option unless you make it one.”
By taking the time to prepare all of the above, you will just about guarantee the success of your production. If you decide to ‘wing it’, there is no guarantee you will fail, but, it could very likely be the result should you choose that option.
See ya next time . . .