Being an engaging podcast host is a pretty difficult gig. Regardless of your topic, format, etc., there are some aspects of being a great podcast host that can be hard to improve upon. When it comes down to it, a lot of what makes someone an engaging host is their personality and ability to speak and interact with others. However, it is not impossible to improve upon things such as this, so we decided to break down 10 aspects of being an awesome podcast host to help you hone in on your hosting skills!
Tone of Voice
You've heard it before, it's not about what you say, but rather the way that you say it. Now, as a host, what you say is also important, but you can ultimately have the most interesting things to say in the world, but if your tone of voice is off, the message won't resonate. Your tone is all about what kind of impression you want to make on everyone who hears you. Since your tone is dependent on what you are discussing and what you want your audience to walk away with, you have a variety of tones you could use, including funny, playful, serious, formal, casual, respectful, enthusiastic, etc. The thing to remember is that your tone of voice has to fit your topic and your message, and in general, you want to avoid an apathetic tone and any other overly negative tones. Your podcast might not call for you to be over-the-top enthusiastic, which is totally fine, but if your tone makes it sound like you are uninterested or bored, then you might want to reevaluate the tone of voice that you are using.
It's a good idea to remain mindful of your vocabulary and if you notice that you are using the same words a lot of the time, you might want to switch it up a bit to keep it interesting. Additionally, if you are using a lot of intricate and complicated words, you might want to look for words that are easier to understand so you don't lose your audience. In some cases, if you have a selection of unique words and phrases that you frequently use, you might want to lean into that and create a language around your podcast that you can use to build a community. As humans, we catch on to what others say, so this can be a great tactic to engage your listeners. Of course, it is possible to overuse words to the point that they become tired or annoying to listeners, so be careful with your vocabulary even if you decide to lean into your unique words and phrases.
Storytelling might not seem important if you are the host of a more educational podcast. However, that is simply not true. Storytelling is important for every podcast. Stories are highly regarded as one of the best ways to engage people, so incorporating stories when possible and aspects of storytelling into your speech should be priorities. Some elements of storytelling are setting, characters, plot, conflict, theme, and narrative arc. Stories also tend to evoke emotion, appeal to the senses, and speak to the human experience. When you think of incorporating storytelling into your podcast, try not to get too hung up on the formal elements of storytelling. Think about how stories make people feel and how they achieve those feelings, and use that to improve your hosting abilities.
Showcasing your personality is one of the biggest parts of your podcast. People may come for your topic, but they stay for your personality and how you deliver your content. Stay true to yourself, be honest with your guests and your audience, and genuinely focus on authenticity in every possible way. It is easy to spot when someone isn't being authentic, so be yourself and let people truly get to know you and your personality. If you aren't genuine, it is a guarantee that you will turn listeners away.
Being a generally pleasant host, putting your guests at ease, and being respectful of your audience and guests alike are absolutely vital to engaging listeners. Without personability, you could turn listeners away. That's not to say that if your personality consists of some sarcasm, attitude, etc. you can't showcase that though. You just want to be sure that you are making everyone feel welcome as well as comfortable listening to and taking part in your podcast.
Your ability to stay on track while speaking and deliver cohesive thoughts and stories is incredibly important for engagement. Even if you are prepared, cohesion can be difficult, especially if you have the tendency to go off on tangents. As we speak, we often have so many related and unrelated thoughts that can cause us to get off track. It is important to notice if this is a habit of yours and work to improve your cohesion as you speak. The more cohesive you are while speaking, the easier it is for your audience to follow you, making you a more engaging host.
Working With Your Mic
Sure, your mic amplifies your voice and makes it possible for you to record your voice. However, you should practice proper mic etiquette to ensure that you are helping your mic pick up the best sound possible. Move your mic as you move, test your mic out and find out how you achieve the best sound, and simply stay mindful of your mic as you record your podcast. If you forget about your mic, you run a high risk of producing poor audio, which inevitably takes away from your engagement as a host.
As a host, your preparedness matters. If you are prepared, you can be assured that you will always have direction. Prepare questions for guests, do your research, check your equipment beforehand, write your notes, and do anything else that you believe will be helpful for you while recording. A little preparation goes a long way. Spontaneity and leaving lots of room for you to speak in the moment are vital, but preparation can help you avoid silent, awkward, chaotic, and unfocused moments that take away from your ability to be an engaging host. And, a bonus is that your preparation will save you time and effort when editing your podcast.
Your awareness of your audience (knowing what your audience wants), guests (knowing why your guests are there), and your surroundings (including your equipment) also play a part in your engagement as a host. If you aren't aware of your audience, you can be sure that you aren't resonating with them nor are you delivering content that they are interested in. If you aren't aware of your guests, it is almost certain that either your guest will be upset with the experience or your content will misstep. As for your surroundings, if you aren't aware of what is going on with your equipment and everything else around you, your audio quality will suffer. Awareness is really key to ensuring that you are creating content that will resonate with people.
Most importantly, you need to have passion as a podcast host. Whether you are passionate about your topic or the medium itself is not all that important, you simply need to be passionate about one or both. Passion is what translates to your audience and it is the first step to being an engaging host. You can't fake passion and it is extremely clear when passion is lacking. Without passion, you can be certain that you won't be an engaging host. So, whatever you do, ensure that you are passionate about your podcast.
So, there you have it, 10 aspects of being an awesome podcast host. As mentioned, it can be quite difficult to improve upon your abilities as a host. It is certainly not impossible though. If you aim for continuous improvement and remain mindful of each of these aspects, there's no doubt that you will improve your hosting skills. Happy podcasting!
For more information on improving your skills as a podcast host, see our 10 Ways to Be a Great Podcast Host article.
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