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Your voice – the first thing that can kill your message.

Podcast editing has brought voice, verbal crutches and other hindrances to mind lately. As a member of Toastmasters, I’m learning better ways to correct it in myself and to help clients, guests overcome it. Mastering your voice allows you to be HEARD without distractions of filler words, crutches, like ya’know all those bad habits people develop.

VOICE, as Eric Winger explained to me recently, is about four things:

  • Pace
  • Pitch
  • Volume
  • Pause

Even someone who is monotone can be made to sound more interesting if they add in some variance in pace and pauses. Think of a flat road, flat line.

__________________________________

Now, add in some pace changes to break it up:

________ ______ __________ ______

Now add in some pauses

__ ________    ________ __     _____ and it more resembles Morse Code. Morse Code is simple, one tone but conveys a message. This covers the monotone issue. Add in pitch and volume changes for emphasis and you begin to hear a more lyrical quality to your voice. Others will pay attention to everything you say rather than tuning you out or switching the channel. When we lose our audience’s attention – even an audience of one, it’s usually due to these factors:

  1. VOICE issues, including pauses and pitch.
  2. The content you are tossing at them is not relevant to them.
  3. The entire conversation or interview is way too “I” centered.
  4. They are never engaged – you are simply talking AT them without including them.

Moving on to those verbal crutches.

When we are editing podcasts we are challenged with younger guests who are able to so sleekly smear their “likes” into each word surrounding it, making it challenging to separate and edit out. It goes beyond a filler.  When our speech is riddled with these crutches, we lose credibility and give away our perceived experience or lack thereof. James Obermayer from Funnel Media Group, LLC recently sent out an email on this topic to all of our hosts trying to help them and their guests sound better. This applies to interviews, meetings, phone calls. Would you type all of these crutch words in an email? How about a text? Of course not. Contrarywise, you wouldn’t textspeak in a meeting, LOL.

Did you know the average 25-minute podcast has over 200 edits just for the mouth clicks, uhs, ums, soooooos, double clutches, and likes?

How about those uhs, ums, likes, ya-knows? Big breaths? They are distracting and can give the impression of a lack of confidence and inexperience. They are habits we get into starting in our families or pick up in school. I’m grateful to my dad for NEVER permitting these habits. He would tell me to say it again and again until I left out the crutches. You can break them! When you have more confidence, you can skip those filler words. It’s OK to pause for effect – we will keep listening to you – it’s still your turn!

Take some time to practice in the office or at home, in front of a mirror, recording privately or with a friend. Try to incorporate some of the feedback. We will get together again for you to try again next week.

Here’s what Jim covered with the hosts:

You know, I think, ah, you will find this tip, uh, like interesting.  So, ok?

It is our goal to make each program more listenable and something a guest will want to post on their site.

As you know every program on the Funnel Radio Channel is edited by the studio; Tom Finch and Paul the engineer use a combination of electronic adjustments as well as a personal touch for voices. Typically in a 30-minute recording, there are about 3 minutes of um, uh, ah, er, right, ya’know, and, so, and so, ok, well, like I was saying,  plus extended silences (not to be confused with thoughtful, deliberate pauses) and words or phrase repetitions (double-clutches) which we edit out.

This is typical in every program, most often used by the guest.  Hosts over time get very good at not using these.  It takes 2 hours on average to edit every program. I recently read an article which I think you will like written by Niti Shah of Hubspot about using crutch words. So, Um, You Really Need to Stop Using These Crutch Words @nitifromboston

By the way, as hard as I try to stop using these, some creep into my own shows but I like to think I am getting better.  One tip I got from a speaker is to practice by describing something out loud extraneously.  For instance, I will look at a building when I am driving and I will describe it for a minute which is about 50 -75 words.  Do this often enough and crutch words start to disappear from your vocabulary.

For instance, “This is a tall red brick building with ten stories, an attached garage, a large sign on the top that says Google, and a  cell tower.  There are retail stores on the first floor, one of which is a Chinese Restaurant and next to it is a men’s clothing store.  There is also parking on the street with parking meters and a loading zone at the main entrance.”  This is 68 words.  Do this several times, describing different things as you are walking, jogging or driving and your speech patterns will change.

Take Jim’s challenge and mine and practice so you can break yourself of those habits. I’d love to hear everything you are saying and truly listen to you until you are finished telling me what you want me to know about you.