There are many steps and factors to consider when it comes to learning how to host a podcast. From buying the right equipment to choosing your topic to finding guests, there’s plenty you need to think about before you record an episode.
What about while you’re recording an episode though? The work of being a podcast host is never more in the eye of your audience than when you’re talking on the show, either by yourself or with guests. That work specifically revolves around speaking on the podcast and making guests comfortable with speaking as well.
Learning how to talk on a podcast, to find the perfect balance between show and conversation, can be a long road. Luckily, here at Mr. Thrive we have some experts on the matter–including our founder Chaz Volk –and we took a look at some of the tips and tricks of hosting a podcast. Read on to learn how you can find your voice behind the microphone.
Hosting a Podcast
Some people will find that hosting a podcast comes somewhat naturally. Others will struggle to keep their voice in a normal, conversational tone in such a unique setting. Odds are, you’ll find yourself falling somewhere in the middle of those two ends of the spectrum.
These seven points of podcast hosting and speaking will help you out. No matter what your current level of comfort is with speaking and podcasting, these will apply to you. Some may personally help you more than others, but they’re all important to read, internalize, and turn to when you’re feeling stuck.
7. Smile While You Speak
The tip to smile while you speak works for podcast hosts, voice over artists, and anyone who relies on the cadence of their tone. Smiling while you speak will keep your voice from sounding flat, and frankly, it’ll make you happier as you go along. You can’t go wrong with that!
6. Give Yourself Talking Points
You can easily lose yourself in a podcast episode and ramble along if you don’t have talking points chosen before you start recording. Your talking points can be loose guidelines, to avoid limiting what you can chat about in relation to your points. It is, however, important to have those loose guidelines to help you along.
5. Focus the Conversation
In addition to talking points, an overarching theme for each episode and a goal you want to reach will help you keep the conversation focused. This is similar to talking points, but it covers more of the conversation. When you combine talking points with an overall focus, you’ll find yourself maintaining the conversation much more easily.
4. Pace Yourself
The bane of many public speaking events is the tendency people have to speed up as they talk. This can happen if you’re nervous, or even if you’re just on a roll in the conversation. For your podcast, always keep your pace in mind. Eventually, you’ll find a rhythm, but it’ll take time, and a lot of practice.
3. Lighten the Mood
Whatever your podcast subject is, it never hurts to throw in some lighthearted humor to keep it upbeat. Depending on your subject, you’ll want to amp up or tone down the humor, but you can always have at least a little bit. If you’re unsure where to add it in, the introduction is a good place to start.
2. Find Your Storytelling Groove
Hosting a podcast, no matter the subject, is akin to telling a story. If you have guests or a cohost, you’ll be weaving a story together. Whatever your podcast style is, it’s important that you have a storytelling groove to bring your episodes full-circle. The concept of the story circle, from start to finish, is a good research plan.
1. Be Direct
Of all these tips and tricks, being direct is one that will help you in your podcast hosting. It will also help in every other aspect of conversation. Specifically, being direct means avoiding details that don’t add to your story, and keeping the conversation active and engaging. This will come with practice, and reminding yourself to plan ahead for meaningful conversations will help.
Public Speaking Skills
While the process of how to host a podcast isn’t an exact match with public speaking, the two do share several features and skills. Primarily, both speech settings are meant to be natural, but with a specific goal reached through direct speaking. Hosting a podcast is essentially public speaking in a more intimate setting.
If you’re looking to broaden your speaking skills, taking seminars and other courses in public speaking can help. To get even more exposure, you can experiment with open mics and public speaking events. It won’t be a match for your podcast topic, but it will help you get more comfortable speaking freely in a public setting.
Sales training is tangentially helpful for hosting a podcast in a similar way as public speaking experience. Your podcast may be an extension of your business and a direct sales tool. It could also be purely for information and education.
If it’s a podcast business, you’ll want sales training to learn how to encourage potential buyers through your podcast. For a podcast that is purely being produced for the content, sales training will still be helpful in teaching you persuasive, compelling language tactics.
There are a few ways you can get sales training. If you’ve worked in sales, you’re already pretty well set. Even a retail position where you were responsible for upselling and making sales will be useful. If you don’t have sales experience, finding a sales coach is one of the most efficient options.
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Host a Podcast
As you start your podcast and learn your own hosting rhythm, you’re sure to have questions along the way. They’ll range from general queries to highly technical questions about podcast equipment and posting decisions.
To start you off, our answers to these frequently asked questions will cover some general ground. Check out our post about the key fundamentals of podcasting for more specific info.
Can You Host a Podcast by Yourself?
Yes, you can host a podcast by yourself. Technically, you can have a podcast that is always just you and your microphone. However, mixing it up with guests and a potential cohost can be great ways to spice up your podcast.
In terms of production for hosting work, you can work through it alone. Working with an agency like Mr. Thrive, however, can take some of the weight off your shoulders. We can handle the technical work, leaving you plenty of time to work creatively and build your podcast.
How Much Does a Podcast Host Make?
When it comes to how much a podcast host can make, the answer widely varies. According to ZipRecruiter, the average yearly salary is $72,471, with the high reaching nearly $160K. The low comes in around $16,000. There’s a lot of wiggle room in there.
The salary of a podcast host can vary depending on how far the podcast reaches, affiliate marketing, and sponsorships. It can also depend on the topic of the podcast, as some areas have more room for profits.
How Often Do Podcasts Fail?
Buckle up, this answer may be a hard pill to swallow. According to SLAM! Agency, around 80% of podcasts fail. That is a big number. However, it’s easier to view when taken in the context of the amount of podcasts entering the scene each year. There are approximately over 100K on average.
Potential podcast failure is certainly something to be aware of, but don’t let it hold you back. If you have an idea and the know-how and effort to make it happen, you stand a good chance of being in that 20% chance of success.
What Should I Say at the Beginning of a Podcast?
The beginning of a podcast episode is a good time for a soft intro and a quick anecdote. You can open with a story that leads into the specific subject of that episode.
There’s also the option of giving an intro about the podcast in general on each episode. That might be a good idea when you’re just starting out. When it comes down to it, you’ll find what works for you and your podcast with a few episodes under your belt.
Hosting a Podcast: The Podcast Host with the Most
Learning how to host a podcast, mastering speaking to a broad yet intimate audience, and growing your business will take time and effort. It starts with learning how to speak on a podcast, and it never really stops.
Here at Mr. Thrive Media, we can help with the production and technical aspects, to give you more time to focus on being the best podcast host you can be. Our agency of vocal talent, marketing experts, and podcast-producing pros can build the basis of your podcast needs, while you build the heart of your podcast. Contact us and get started today.