We have so many weapons in our podcasting arsenal that, when used correctly, can make our podcasts spectacular. We’re all aware that quality equipment and a quiet recording space are essential for making excellent podcasts. But one thing that is often overlooked is your voice.
Podcasts are an audio medium, so our voices are important. Your voice is the first point of contact between your podcast and your audience. It needs to be engaging, clearly audible, and sincere. Having great command over your voice could be the difference between having random listeners occasionally tuning in to your episodes and having your own solid fan base.
Get ready for some great news!
There are many things we can do to really get the best out of our voices!
By doing daily exercises, you can transform your voice from good enough to out of this world! It’s all about paying attention to the details and being willing to make these exercises part of your daily routine.
As a Voice Artist, voice exercises changed everything for me. I went from being average to being in high demand. The only thing I did differently was exercise my voice daily. We will show how to make your voice your secret weapon, and how this can greatly improve your podcast.
1. Master Your Breathing
There is a rhythm in your speech when you are talking, but being able to inhale and exhale at the right places will add a seamless flow to your content. One of the most understated tools in a podcast host’s toolkit is the effective use of their breath. Being able to control your breath will give you incredible power over the microphone.
But in order to have command over your breathing, you must first train your diaphragm. It starts with being able to hold your breath for as long as you can. Now, I’m not saying that you have to have the lung capacity of a deep ocean diver or an Olympic swimmer. I’m merely stating that the longer you are able to hold your breath, the more control you will have over it.
I didn’t realize how often I was running out of breath at the end of a sentence. After breathing exercises, the control I now have over the way I deliver my words is astounding. Now I can carefully craft my delivery with ease.
Here is an exercise that you can do for better breath control:
- Breathe in deeply, then exhale until all the air is out of your lungs. Repeat 10 times.
- Breathe in for 5 seconds. Hold your breath for 5 seconds. Exhale for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
- Breath in for 6, hold for 6, exhale for 6. Repeat 10 times.
- Repeat step 3, increasing by one second each time. When you reach your maximum number (when your lungs are burning and you cannot increase by another second) remain on this number and repeat 20 times.
- The next morning, repeat steps 1-4.
2. Don’t Neglect a Good Warm-Up
The vocal cords are a form of muscle tissue. Just like any other muscle, they need to be properly warmed up before strenuous use. A professional tennis player has to go through a rigorous warm-up routine before she takes to the court to make sure she avoids unnecessary pain.
Similarly, if your vocal cords are not thoroughly warmed before taking to the microphone, then you could do some serious harm to your voice. You may end up sounding like a cheap Barry White: all croak, no husk. And that is not appealing to any audience.
Proper vocal warm-ups add a refined character to your voice.
So, before you get down to the business of recording your next episode, make sure that your voice is ready to put in the work.
At first, these warm-ups felt strange. I couldn’t help but laugh every time I began humming. After noticing the improved quality of my voice, these warm-ups stopped being a joke.
Here’s how I warm up my voice:
- Start with a neutral hum. With your mouth closed, hum until the inside of your lips start tingling. The hum should feel like it originates from your chest. You can close your eyes and even place your hand on your chest to help you envision it. Do this for 45 seconds.
- Go lower. Continue to hum, this time it should feel like the hum is coming from your belly. Again, you can place your hand on your stomach to make it easier for you. This hum should have a deeper pitch than the neutral one. Do this for 45 seconds.
- Take it high. Take your hum to the highest pitch that you can manage. It should almost feel as if the hum is bursting through the top of your head. Do this for 45 seconds.
- Back to the voice. Now, deliberately place your hum in your throat. This one will sound weird, almost like you’re Chewbacca about to say something poignant. Keep it going for 45 seconds.
- Nasal. The last hum variation is one that resonates in your nose. Place your index fingers on the outside of your nostrils. If you are doing this hum right then you should feel your nose vibrating. Do this for another 45 seconds.
- The siren. Once you have done steps 1-5, start from the lowest chamber and work your way back up. After hitting the highest pitch, come back down to the lowest. Your hum should sound like an ambulance siren. Again, go for 45 seconds.
- Open mouth. You will now do steps 1-8 again, this time with your mouth slightly open. Your mouth does not need to be wide, simply part your lips slightly and allow the sound to escape your mouth. Stick to the 45 second time for each round.
This warm-up does not and should not be limited to when you are about to record your podcast. Try to do it daily. Just like the breathing exercise, make it part of your daily routine. Your voice will begin to have a richness and quality that will be impossible to replicate.
It’s wonderful listening to a podcast that has an amazing voice coming through the speakers. I always pay closer attention to what is being said when the voice saying it reverberates with quality. Even heavy content, when voiced properly, can leave you wanting more.
3. Ace Your Articulation
The mark of a great podcast host is when you can hear every single word they say with absolute clarity. Straining to hear a host is offputting and can leave your listener base frustrated. Of course, a big part of this is due to the quality of the equipment that you have and your editing process. But another major player is how you yourself are able to deliver each word with precision. This means articulating each consonant and enunciating every vowel carefully.
My favorite way of making my speech clear is through the use of tongue twisters. They are fun to do while having practical implications at the same time. The trick with tongue twisters is to make sure that you over-exaggerate every single letter. You should start the phrase off slow and then speed up each time you repeat it.
Again, the important thing is saying the phrase correctly, with emphasis on each letter, more than saying it as fast as you can. There are a plethora of tongue twisters available out there, here are two of my favorites:
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
A peck of pickled pepper Peter Piper picked.
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
To Sit in Solemn Silence
To sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark, dock.
In a pestilential prison, with a life-long lock.
Awaiting the sensation of a short, sharp, shock.
From a cheap and chippy chopper on a big black block.
A dull, dark, dock, a life-long lock, A short, sharp, shock, a big black block.
For more fun tongue twisters, check out this site.
4. Build Up Your Energy
In order for your content to be engaging, you must deliver it with the right energy. All the exercises that we have mentioned up to now help in ensuring that your voice has vibrancy. There is one more thing that you can do to make your voice sound more alive: exercise.
Don’t run away! I’m not forcing you to go to the gym! This is one minute of light exercise to get your heart beating a little faster in order to give your voice some gusto. A little fire in your belly will always translate to the microphone, and your listeners beyond. A body that is alert and engaged will lead to a voice of the same manner:
Here’s a quick routine you can try:
- Jumping Jacks are great. They are quick and simple and require no equipment. 20 Jumping Jacks should do the trick.
- Push-ups. Try not to do too many. The aim is to add a spark to your voice, not tire yourself out completely. Depending on your own personal fitness level, I would suggest 20 push-ups or less.
- Sit-ups. 20 or less and you’ll be good to go.
Now that you’re pumped up, your voice is too, ready to hold audiences captive. But there’s an added bonus! When you exercise, your brain releases “feel good” hormones called endorphins. This is a chemical release that literally makes you feel better. So, why not add some good vibes to your podcast and chill?
And the best part: Endorphins are free.
Your Secret Weapon is Now Ready…
Remember, your voice is your secret weapon when it comes to making an engaging podcast. Once you have mastered everything laid out in this article, you will begin to notice your voice growing as a formidable force.
But in order for your voice to be effective, it must first be trained. Controlling your breath; doing a proper warm-up; working on articulation and enunciation; giving your voice energy through light exercise are all ways to keep your voice podcast-fit.
When you begin to make these exercises part of your daily life, then your voice can only grow from strength to strength. Once your voice is rich in quality, you’ll be able to take your podcast to a whole new level! Your audience will dive deeper into your content because your voice invites them to do so. It’s all about creating a memorable experience for your listeners. The audience wants to be enthralled. Let’s give the people what they want.