Podcasters and Guest Interviewers: A Few Tips to Make the Guest Intro Stronger
As a voice expert for many years, I’ve had the pleasure over the last few years of working with a number of podcast hosts and others who do interviews on their voices, helping them really learn to captivate the audience with their voice. One of the consistent struggles I’ve seen or heard rather, is in the reading of the guest bio script. I’m not going to lie, I think this is one of the trickiest and most challenging pieces for the podcast or interview host, trying to make unfamiliar text sound like it’s not being read (when it is) and captivating (when it’s not). Creating an engaging sound with these bios gets even more challenging if the host does a large number of interviews or batch records their episodes. But, here’s the thing, the bio is early on in the podcast and you really want to come on strong and captivate your audience right away, if you are struggling with engaging the audience while reading the guest bio, not engaging the audience, you might lose them before you ever begin. But, don’t worry, there are ways to make the delivery of the guest bio sound much more natural and captivating than you ever imagined.
The problem starts with the script. Granted, it’s short but it’s still a script and chances are good that you have not had much time to work on it. That’s okay, I’m going to give you some tips to work around it. But, let’s talk about scripts for a minute. I’m not a fan of them but only because we tend to think we need more words than we do and we tend to get grid locked and far too attached to the words. It’s essential to learn to pull away from a fully, word for word script. Start off small but start to pull away from a script that you are going to read word for word. Reading a script word for word puts you completely in your head, when you’re in head, you are disconnected from your voice and there is no chance you can bring the words to life. If your focus is in your mind on the words, the delivery will be about the words, I can guarantee this, it happens every time. In order to bring the words to life, you have to be able to pull away from the script and re-connect to your voice so you can bring the words to life. It is only when you are connected to the words that we can connect to you. If you are solely reading them you are disconnected, therefore we are disconnected from you.
So, with that said, start working on culling down that full script. What are the key words that will give you the information you need to give justice to the guest’s information? Practice glancing down at the full script but highlight key words and let them grab your eye to help you navigate the script. If you can, start re-writing those scripts with shorter phrases or even key words or bullet points that will give you enough information to get you away from reading, solely reading words and start moving you into conversation, even if you are still reading the words some. This is a technique that will give you an anchor as you start to pull away from the script. The anchor will give you a safety net to try it and then when you succeed you will have the confidence. It will not take very long before you are really able to pull away from the script and be conversational and captivating with this guest bio because you now believe you can be; you’ve had the victory.
Next, if you do still need to stay on the script, that’s okay, but let’s get you some technique to help you bring it to life even though you’re reading it. First, stress words. Far too many people and not just podcast hosts, don’t stress enough words. Remember, you are our tour guide. It’s up to you to let us know what is important to you and what we need to know is important to us. Stress the words that matter, underline them, make sure you know to give them extra emphasis and then use the entire tool kit of variety to bring them to life.
Here is another key tip, when you practice, you must practice out loud. It’s one thing to read the guests bio script in our head and I’ll assure you it is going to sound really great in our head! But, if you don’t read it out loud you cannot bring it to life and make it sound the way does in your mind. It’s essential to put the words in the muscle memory, to hear our voices say them out loud so we can see where we need to tweak. But, even more importantly, but saying the script out loud and putting it in the muscle memory it is now there to draw from when you need it. So, when you start reading that script, you read a word and you’ve practiced it out loud, the muscle memory will remember it and will bring it to life. The words will stop sounding like you are saying them for the first time, they will start coming to life, affecting our senses and touching our emotions because once they’ve been practiced out loud and you become more comfortable with them you will begin to add in organic variety that brings them to life. I don’t know that you have to practice tons and tons but I do know that you need to practice a few times to get things into the muscles so we can draw from them when the heat of the moment occurs.
Lastly, you’ve got to breathe. Most of the podcasters I’ve worked with dread the bio on some levels just because they know they sound artificial in their delivery. But, here’s the thing, the minute you dread, the minute you don’t breathe. In fact, if you are already not breathing then you possibly hold your breath even more while you get through the bio, in fact, I’d almost put money on the concept of taking in air and either dumping it and reading through the bio with no air or taking in air and holding it in until you get through the bio.
But, breathing is the hardest thing I teach so you’ve got to train yourself to do it, all the time. Breathing is not something that you can turn on and off. People say to me, “I’m going to remember to breathe.” My response is always the same, “No, no you’re not.” You’ve just got to many other things to think about. So we have to train ourselves to breathe and that means three things.
Catch yourself not breathing. It’s staggering how much we don’t breathe. Spend all day tomorrow catching yourself not breathing. You will be stunned. Every time you catch yourself not breathing, take in a breath and then rinse and repeat, today, tomorrow, the next day…eventually, sooner rather than later you will begin to breathe consistently and constantly. I strongly encourage you to do this because it’s a big, big game changer in all of life.
There are actually a few other parts to breathing that no one really teaches, you can certainly read about more of them on my site www.captivatetheroom.com but another one that is of crucial importance is connecting to the breath. We tend to take in air, dump it out and then speak with no air or take in air and hold it in while we speak, not letting it out. Ever rattled off tons and tons of words on one or no breath and then you nearly collapsed as you stopped to take in more? That is not connecting to the breath. We have to learn to let the air out with the sound and that gets really tricky because we have trained ourselves to avoid that at all costs. But, there is hope and once you learn to regulate your air like this, the sky is the limit. You will be able to relax, speak in your true voice, create more variety, utilize voice power and sound more natural. It’s the ultimate game changer and yet no one is talking about it. Trust me, learn this and you will break through the noise and put yourself ahead of the others when it comes to always captivating the audience and engaging them with your voice.
I don’t know that people completely realize just how important the voice is. The voice is the game changer if you know how to use it. The voice is what will set you apart, break through the noise and get you what you want. The voice is where the trust is built and what brings the words, the message to life. But, you must know how to use it. By applying these principles listed above, you will be able to pull away from the script of the guest bio and sound more natural or even if you do still have to read it, you will be more engaging and captivating, keeping your audience with you as go into the body of the interview which is where most podcast hosts really shine. I know these techniques will help.
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