Positive Thinking for Podcasters: Three Thoughts About Stage Fright

In any kind of creative work, you’re going to run up against stage fright. Even in a medium like podcasting, where there’s no stage involved, it’ll happen, and it might actually be worse. Instead of just a single auditorium, it’s the entire world you’re going to be submitting your work to. I touched on this topic in my previous post and video, but I wanted to say a little more about it because I felt like a little more advice was warranted other than staying “stage fright happens”.   I think if I can give real advice anywhere, I can give it here. Through learning experiences with performance and public speaking in school situations, radio, and now podcasting, stage fright has become pretty familiar. And I definitely felt stage fright while I was getting Behind the Podcast off the ground, long before I ever even tried to record anything. So, with a full disclaimer that this may not work for everyone, what did I find worked for me in the process of putting together my first podcast?

1). Preparation

            Look over your script one more time. Run through what you’re going to say. Ask yourself if there’s anything you want to add or subtract. If you’re editing, listen to the audio file one more time before you publish it. I had no problem valuing peace of mind over speed in production. The best thing to make the butterflies in my stomach calm down was the knowledge that I was putting out a product that I knew I could be proud of.

2). Do what works for you

             If you listen to the introduction to Behind the Podcast, which is just a minute or so of me speaking into a microphone, and the first episode of behind the podcast, which is a very lengthy interview with another podcaster, I have to admit it’s pretty obvious which format I’m most comfortable with. I actually specifically chose the interview format because I knew it was much better suited to me, where my skill level was, and what I wanted to accomplish. I really don’t doubt that’s part of why the interview and multiple host formats are so popular. I think that having another person, turning monologue into dialogue, does a lot of the work of keeping the momentum up. On the other hand, I can see how seeking out interviewees or not having total control over everything that gets recorded can be forbidding to some people. Some people might be better suited to hosting a show on their own, and that’s perfectly okay! In the podcast medium, there’s very little need to work in a format you’re not comfortable with.

3). Remember why you’re doing this

Listen to the podcasts you love. The ones that made you laugh, the ones that stuck with you. Odds are, they’re not entirely perfect. Their flaws, the things that show that they are made by real human beings who are doing this out of love of their subject and the medium, might be part of what gives them a lot of their charm. If you’re doing an interview, then (within limits) think of your interviewer as your friend, the same way you’d think of your band or your co-stars as your friends in any other performing art, or the way you’d (hopefully) think of your group members as your friends when presenting a collaborative project (in an ideal world!). Furthermore, think of your audience as your friend. Remember that when they click play, they’re doing it because they want to hear your voice. If you’ve followed steps one and two, then there’s really no need to have stage fright at all.

We all want to hear you, so face down your fear, get out there and get recording!

Also, if you want a good practical guide to what to do before you hit “record” (and knowing can be a great way to feel more confident), Daniel J. Lewis of The Audacity to Podcast has some excellent resources.  This kind of post was part of the inspiration for mine.

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/.

Lewis, D.J. (2014, March 10).  Podcasting “preflight”checklist–TAP 164 [Web log post].  The Audacity to Podcast.  Retrieved from. https://theaudacitytopodcast.com/podcasting-preflight-checklist-tap164/.



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