For some, podcasting comes from a script you wrote earlier in the day. For other podcasters, what rolls off the tounge is whats recorded – every um and ah. But as all tasks, you can always learn to get better at it. I personally never expected to be writing articles for a living. Now I put out at least 1,000 words on a daily basis. I am challenging myself daily and creating new breakthroughs.
So here are some skill builders you can use to improve the way you podcast:
1. Read a Short Story in the Microphone
Reading from a script can help you in many ways. The biggest advantage for me is that I get a rest at key times so I can emerge with powerful content.
It doesn’t matter the short story. Choose something with 500 words or more. Sit down in front of your podcast rig and read it like you are recording a show. Note your pace of reading and how you use the breaks such as commas, question marks, exclamation points, and new lines.
If you podcast after you put the kids to bed, incorporate that as reading time. You can also double your efforts for a good cause. Librivox is a audiobook program for public-domain books. Sign up to read a section of a book, then edit and send to the website so you are included in this great service.
2. Look Left, Look Right
This is a great exercise that will engage the two hemespheres of your brain. If you are talking and tasking (like running controls on your podcast), this will improve the multitask. I actually do this before I play a music gigs.
Simply, without turning your head, look as far left as you can. Then look as far right as you can. Repeat 10 times. You might feel like a spy making sure nobody is listening. In reality, you are engaging both hemespheres of your brain so they can work together.
Who would have thought by a spy doing this, they were improving their abilities?
3. Color Name Game
Look at this picture below. It has 9 words in different color circles. The words are color names in another color. This is what you do:
- Go through the list, reciting the color of the circle (first one is “Black”)
- Go through the list again, this time reciting the name of the color listed in the circle (first one is “White”)
- One more time, now naming the color of the word inside the circle (first one is “Yellow”)
If you think that is tough, imagine having to put this image together. I ended up having to create a cheat sheet so I didn’t mess up on the coordination. I still messed up.
What we are doing here is a game of distraction. We’re training your brain to process and focus on the task at hand. Paying attention, especially if you have guests on your show, is key to moving your show forward. And sometimes we don’t have a choice – especially if you are running the sound, changing scenes, picking out the sound effects or transitions, or other tasks to your one-person show.
4. Become Ambidexterous
Once again as a musician, I took time to learn how to write with my non-dominant hand. Granted, my left-hand penmanship looks like a first grader, but if push comes to shove I can continue to work.
You don’t have to learn how to write that way, but try flipping your work so your non-dominant hand comes into play more. Also remember you have 5 fingers, so don’t leave the pinky out of the fun!
I started using my other hand by simply drawing an infinite spiral to teach my hand how to work circles. They start out as weird triangles at first.
5. The Game of 7’s
Remember that fun drinking game? If you basically counted, and when you hit a seven or a multiple of seven, you skipped the number or would have to drink. While we all want to drink before the podcast, this time we take the drinking part out of it (sorry – you can do water or soda…). Count to 100, leaving out all sevens and multiples of seven. That would be
Do it without looking at this cheat sheet. By doing this you will get your brain ready to think before you speak. This will help you formulate the next sentence before it leaves your mouth. Who thought that drinking games were skill building? If you have co-hosts this game helps in getting you in-sync with each other. Simply switch back and forth on each number, just like how the game is played.
6. The Room Game
Step into the living room and look around for five seconds noting 5 items in that room. Walk briskly to the kitchen and stare at it while you recite those 5 items you saw in the living room, then pick 5 items in the kitchen so you can walk to another room (other than the living room) to recite the previous 10 items, trying to picture each item in your head. If there are two of the same item (like two couches), only count that as one item.
The more rooms you can move about, the better. This helps your short term memory skills. If you can change at least 1 item you chose each time you do this, you won’t get into a pattern. So for example: this week the bread is out on the counter, so I don’t put the sink in my list, I put the bread there.
15-20 minutes of meditation with a focus on your breathing can help you in many ways. The breathing exercise will get you in a pace which you can use for your podcast. Clearing your mind keeps you from wandering when you have to focus.
Meditation improves the immune system so you don’t stress out during your show. It builds self-confidence so you can put your best foot forward. It helps you concentrate – especially for the next twenty minutes.
I find it also checks my bladder so I can go before the show and not do the dance during.
There are other things you can do to improve your podcast skills in an indirect way. What do you do before your show? Let me know!