How to get More Comfortable Recording a Podcast

Over the weekend, I gave a talk at WordCamp NYC about podcasting (you can see the slides here). While I generally get a bunch of fantastic questions, one really stood out this weekend. Travis Lima asked me (paraphrasing here), “How do you get more comfortable speaking into the microphone.” I loved it because while I often focus on the technical aspect, there can be a real issue with getting comfortable recording, especially if you’re doing a solo show. So my answer: get your reps in.

Meant to Perform

In my answer to Travis, I mentioned that I was in Drama Club. In fact, I did it from second grade (around 7 or 8) through high school. I tried out in college but was involved in too many other things…I truly miss being in plays! But that’s besides the point.

The point is that my second grade teacher knew that I’d be a good performer because of the way I acted in the classroom. And she encouraged that in me. I’m eternally grateful for that encouragement, because I know it made me more comfortable as a public speaker, teacher, and podcaster.

You don't need to be in drama club to be a good performer. Click To Tweet

When someone else asked if I recommend taking drama classes (or the like) to be more comfortable, I responded that I never took classes myself, but I don’t recommend it. Here’s why.

I was Uncomfortable my First Time Recording

Even with all of my stage, speaking, and teaching experience, I was a little uncomfortable sitting down in front of my computer to record. You can tell in some of my earlier videos and episodes (if you can find my very first show).

It’s a different experience. There’s no crowd or cast energy to feed off of. Especially if you’re doing a solo show, it’s just you, your computer and a mic. So it can feel a little weird, speaking as if you’re taking to someone, making eye contact with your camera (if you’re doing video), having a one way conversation.

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Get Your Reps In

There’s a common saying in work out circles that I’ve heard being used elsewhere: get your reps in. Basically, the best way to get good at something is to continually do it. Recording a Podcast is no different.

The best way to get comfortable recording is to keep doing it. Click To Tweet

The best thing you can do is keep recording episodes to get better. I heard some fantastic advice on Episode 500 of Mac Power Users: assume you’ll record a few demos first.

This goes hand-in-hand with my advice of recording 5-10 episodes before you do anything else. It will help you get more comfortable, find your voice, and it will help you get some reps in.

You Don’t Need to Publish Everything

The best part of doing some demo episodes is you don’t need to publish them. Like a QB reviewing a training camp tape, you can listen to those episode, take note of what you want to change, and try again. Then, after a few tries, publish!

Record a few demo episodes just for you. Click To Tweet

Try, then Publish

Notice I didn’t say, “when you’re happy with the results,” or, “when it’s perfect.” You probably won’t think it’s perfect at the beginning. I still don’t. But a couple hundred episodes in, and I’m comfortable enough to just hit record and get it done.

Hit the publish button! Your first recording doesn't need to be perfect. Click To Tweet

So what do you think? Are you ready to get those reps in? Let me know in the comments section!

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