Get your body and voice ready for audio podcasting with these 13 preparation tips. These also work great for video!
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Remember that the most important part of podcasting is your voice. So you'll notice that most of these tips focus on caring for your voice.
I have previously talked about the 20 “preflight” things you should do before you start each episode. This content focuses specifically on preparing your body and your voice.
1. Drink plenty of water
Water is lubricant for everything in our bodies. Everything functions better when we are well hydrated.
A dry mouth can cause lip smacks and other annoying mouth noises.
Drink water throughout the day of your recording. A full glass shortly before you record will also help freshen you up.
2. Be careful what and when you eat
Learn about your own stomach and digestive system. Some foods can cause stomach noises. Others can cause excessive gas that seek escape through burps or farts. Try to suppress these bodily functions and you'll make yourself uncomfortable.
Some foods can actually help your voice, such as some teas, a green apple, or lemons.
Related to this, avoid chewing or sucking things during your audio podcast. Cough drops and the like may be necessary, but avoid letting these make noises (such as hitting your teeth or sucking sounds).
3. Avoid soda, cream, and alcohol
I have often looked forward to drinking a soda shortly before recording my clean-comedy podcast. The caffeine and sugar give me a temporary energy boost. Plus, I simply enjoy sodas. These things combine to generally put me in a better mood for my comedy podcast.
But soda, cream, and alcohol can do bad things for your voice. Alcohol can also slow blood flow to your brain, essentially reducing your intelligence.
These little treats can certainly help some podcasts (imagine something like Mommy's Cocktail Hour without the cocktails!). But for more serious shows, you may need all of your mental faculties and the full power of your voice.
4. Get your blood flowing
Instead of looking to food or drink to boost your energy and alertness, try doing something help to get your blood flowing and mind engaged. Try push-ups, a couple trips up and down the stairs, jumping jacks, or even sincere laughter.
Don't work yourself into a sweat or completely out of breath. You just need enough to get the blood to your brain and warm up your nerves.
5. Use the restroom
There's almost nothing more embarrassing than to take a restroom break in the middle of your content! Yes, we're big boys and girls and can control our bladders and bowels. But such suppression can be distracting and discomforting.
I shared an embarrassing moment that happened to me at BlogWorld in my clean-comedy podcast.
6. Get more water for drinking while recording
Regardless of whether you think you'll have a chance to drink, have water ready and try to drink it while recording. This will keep your mouth, throat, and vocal cords lubricated, which will keep your voice smooth and energy higher.
I recommend that you get a cup or bottle with a straw—something that will be completely silent when you drink. Don't leave ice in it, as cold water isn't the best for your body and the ice can also make more noise.
Have something soft for setting your drink on, so you don't make noise when you put your drink down.
If you have a guest or a cohost, it's easy to drink a little while the other person is talking. If you're podcasting solo, you could either pause the recording, or leave enough silence or a marker so you know where to edit. There's no need to tell your audience you're pausing for a drink.
7. Clear your sinuses
Regardless of whether you have allergies, we talk better with clear sinuses. You can breathe better, get more oxygen, and you'll also avoid sniffles and nose whistles in your recording.
Try blowing your nose, a nasal rinse, or other methods for clearing your sinuses. Spicy or hot things can help, too, but they may negatively affect your voice.
8. Apply lip balm
Drinking water keeps your mouth dry and avoids many mouth noises, but water, alone, may not help your lips. Dry lips stick together better and cause lip-smacking noises and can even hinder our speech.
Figure out the best lip balm for you and apply it before your audio podcasting. Beware certain ingredients in lip balm that actually cause dry lips.
9. Warm up your voice
Just like how it's not good to drive a car immediately into 60 MPH in freezing temperatures, it's also not good to start talking for a long time without a little warm up.
Your vocal warmup could be as simple as having conversation before you record. Or, you could try actual vocal warmup exercises. Yes, you'll sound silly, but you'll get a better voice from it.
10. Have something for fidgeting
It's not a learning disorder or mental illness for us to fidget. Many people fidget, and not just when they're uncomfortable.
Find something silent, such as a small plush toy, that you or your guest/cohost are free to fidget with during the recording. This will keep bad fidgeting sounds out of the recording and may even help some people focus more!
11. Clear your mind
Leave your problems, overflowing inbox, offtopic ideas, and other burdens outside of your podcasting studio. This is time to focus on the message you will share and the people with whom you will interact.
Turn off notifications, close or hide tabs and programs, and ensure you are 100% present for this activity. (Hint: try this in other areas of life and see how it improves your relationships!)
“Duh,” right? Yes, we know we should breathe, but we often don't. We're nervous or overly excited and we don't breathe well when we're speaking. Not only does this make us run out of breath while speaking, but it also reduces the amount of oxygen to our brain—making us dumber.
13. Have good posture
Posture affects your voice and mood. Slouch and you'll be lethargic, sit or stand up straight and you'll project and speak more confidently.
Sitting or standing up straight keeps everything in your body properly aligned (and standing is better than sitting!). You'll be able to engage with more energy when you have good posture.
What about you?
Have you found particular techniques that help you—your body and voice—to podcast?
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I took a vocal warm up from when I did theater back in college. I love using this to help me remember to enunciate, especially words like “and” and “to” so they don’t turn into “an'” and “tuh”. It’s not something to say quickly; in fact, it’s better so say it slowly and with intention, stretching out the mouth as much as possible and even over-enunciating the words. My cohost and I usually practice this when we’re doing sound check before recording, as well, so we’re multitasking:
“Eleven benevolent elephants met Lilly and Lucy in Philadelphia. They went to see Camelot in Unique New York, with guns and drums and drums and guns which they kept in the bodega bodega bodega. They soon came across Brilliant Italian William from Topeka, who merely murmered, “lilly lally lilly lally.” Then around the rugged rock the ragged rascal ran, to live among Culligans and Callalillies and let his tone drift off as easily as a sigh.”
Also, I find doodling on my notes very relaxing, although my cohost thinks I’m nuts that I can listen to him speak and doodle at the same time.
I love it! That’s a great exercise!
thank you for joining these details. I’m following
your podcast since two weeks and picked out several older episodes. I’ve
started my own (engineer-) podcast a few days ago.
“Warm up your voice” – this has become essential for me. There is a very
versatile voice-training video by Gordon Schönwälder
Sorry, but only in german, however you might see his grimaces and might
get the point out of it.
Additionally I got the advice by a singer
not to record the podcast during the first two hours after getting up in
the morning. Your vocal cords are mucus-ridden and your tone will not
sound the regular way. You remark this squeaky sounds escaping your
mouth if you get a phone call in the very morning. Nothing you wanted to
have on your record.
Sorry, please replace “joining” with “sharing”. Looks like editing the comment is not possible. I’ve done it 3 times now, saved it, but it is not shown. However if I edit again the changed text is displayed. Potentially also some caching issue.
Morning recording is great for that movie-trailer-guy voice! 🙂
Thanks for providing clear and practical information and, on top of that for your responsiveness on answering questions.
[…] Lewis, D.J. (2015, June 22). How to prepare yourself for audio podcasting–TAP 224 [Web log post]. The Audacity to Podcast. Retrieved from: https://theaudacitytopodcast.com/how-to-prepare-yourself-for-audio-podcasting-tap224/. […]