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Do I Really Sound Like That? Podcast Confessionals.

Audio recordings can be terrible ego killers. Whether it is hearing themselves on-camera, on the radio, on a voicemail message or on a podcast, most people do not like to actually hear a playback of them speaking.

For this reason, know that if a podcast is in your future, remember you may not like the end result – it is science. According to a Live Science article, bones inside our middle ear are responsible for the discrepancy between what we think we sound like and how others hear us. Still, with the impressive rise of podcasts – 2017 data from Edison Research indicates 40 percent of Americans age 12 or older say they have listened to a podcast, while 24 percent say they have listened to one in the past month (21 percent one year ago) – more and more Web professionals will be asked to be a guest on one, become interested in starting one or be asked to do so by their employer.

For those asked to be a guest, here are some takeaways to ensure you make the most out of the unique experience.

Be Camera Ready

Way before the interview begins, know if both visual (video) and aural (audio) experiences will be recorded or if there will be a mix of the two. Even if video is not recorded for audience playback, the podcast host may prefer to actually see the interviewee whether it is in person or on Skype. This means that guests will not only want to make themselves professional and presentable, but also de-clutter the space in which the recording will take place and address sound and lighting conditions. Clutter, for instance, will just be a distraction as will a large window with blinding light coming through or a reflection.

Another way to ensure “recording-readiness” is being confident in the caliber of technology used to record the podcast. Find out how solutions including Podbean, iZotope, Zencastr and others stack up when it comes to the audio experience at wsm.co/techrecord.

Be Prepared

Whether it is for an editorial article or a podcast, interviews can be difficult for both parties – but do not have to be. While it helps for participants to have “chemistry” of sorts to have a free-flowing conversation (to gain meaningful insights and avoid awkwardness), more important is that guests come prepared knowing who they will be speaking with, what types of questions they expect to be asked, the direction(s) they are willing to let an interview take and when they will need to stop (when lines are crossed or available time has ended).

Be Careful What You Say

Interviews can often be guarded experiences, but regardless of format the most successful ones are when the two parties relax a bit – even Oliver Stone has some laughs with Vladimir Putin in his interview series airing on Showtime. With podcasts, there is an expectation of entertainment versus interviews to be used in a print article, for example. The problem that can (and does) arise for many podcast guests is that they are often in the comfort of their own home, so defenses are naturally lowered. In this case, it helps guests to have working knowledge of who will be interviewing them. Research on past episodes, the host’s affinities toward certain topics, the podcast’s audience and a whole lot more will prove useful.

Learn some practical media researching tips at wsm.co/knowmedia.


Can You Hear Me Now?

All that said, podcasts are fun – really. When participants have great chemistry (consider asking the host if you can bring your own guest if you think this will be difficult), are knowledgeable and bring genuine value to listeners, both parties win. Just be careful what you say and know you will not like the way you sound once you hear it.
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