My First Experience Of A Podcast
Date: February 23, 2016
One more hour. 30 minutes to go. One minute.
When I was asked to answer some questions about my experience in teaching singers vocal techniques, I needed to find a good enough excuse to back out of it.
Hopefully the interviewer wasn’t going to sign into Skype on time or my internet connection would stop. But it was too late – plus, there was a reason I’d said yes in the first place.
The main reason why we don’t do what we love in life is because we’re scared of failing or looking a fool. Dealing with public speaking nerves is a serious condition that leads many speakers alike from pursuing their dreams.
With no prior speaking knowledge, and only teaching as a part-time hobby, who was I to start talking about vocal techniques on a podcast? Surely, there were others who deserved this opportunity a lot more than me.
Ryan from Break The Business interviews singers and business experts from all around the world, and invited me to be a part of his Sunday show to share my best singing tips.
The Challenges With My First Podcast
Here’s a link to listen to the podcast and scroll through to around 30:00 to begin my interview.
It’s fair to say that my heart was pounding when signing into Skype shortly before the interview. I regularly sign in and teach singers from around the world, but this was a lot more daunting.
With nothing other than a brief synopsis of the topics we’d be covering, I didn’t know how to properly prepare, other than gather my thoughts and be seated in a quiet environment.
What if I was asked to sing live? What if I use the wrong vocal term and hundreds of people send me hate e-mails?
Not only was I speaking with a person I’d never had any interaction with before, other than a short conversation on Twitter, I consider myself a shy person around new people.
I’m the person in the friendship group who has the ‘odd sense of humour’, the ‘witty jokes’ and is always guaranteed to the say the wrong thing without meaning it.
So as you can imagine, striking the balance between being honest and professional isn’t my strong point.
“What are the most common things singers do wrong?”
Pushing their chest voice up too high. Tensing the jaw. Having the tongue too far at the back of the throat. Using their digastric (swallowing) muscles in vocal exercises.
My brain was working overtime to pick just one thing to say, until all answers came out together at the same time, to make one big slurred stumble.
As I got more comfortable with the interview, I figured that all of my responses couldn’t replicate this. Further into it, there were more silences, ‘erms’ and ‘ums’ to allow myself time to think before just saying anything that popped into my mind.
No matter how specialised you may be in your area, it’s not easy to think of the best answer off the top of your head, so give yourself a few seconds to gather your thoughts. Silences are a lot better than saying anything to avoid awkwardness.
What Was Enjoyable About My First Podcast?
Other than it finishing?
Just kidding. The whole experience was fun once I ALLOWED myself to enjoy it and take it less seriously.
Firstly, it’s always enjoyable to talk about something you care about. Although, the entire interview was a sequence of being put on the spot, it challenged me as a professional, as singers regularly ask me for advice that I can’t possibly prepare for.
So it was an experience that will inevitably help me in the future. Part of growing as a person is about putting yourself in unexpected situations and challenging yourself.
The interviewer was polite and respectable, which made it less serious and more like a friendly conversation.
To lull my ego, it was both shocking and uplifting to be made to feel good enough to talk about a subject area that I still feel the underdog of.
But that self-doubt sets you up to fail. You have to believe in yourself. After all, there’s a reason why you’re doing what you’re doing.
In essence, combining three years of studying in my bedroom, reading books, watching YouTube videos and speaking with professionals in the industry into one 20 minute interview was a reminder that not only do you have to be educated in your industry, but be able to convey this to a person who has no prior knowledge.
Simplify technical terms and be able to explain yourself. This will help others to understand you. And if something comes up that you aren’t 100 percent about, don’t lie!
“Can you talk about nodules?”
“These happen with incorrect vocal technique, such as pushing your chest voice up too high, and when the vocal cords come apart”. Stop. Continuing to talk in an attempt to sound intelligent is dangerous.
Stick to what you know and don’t be afraid to say that that’s where your knowledge ends.
Dealing With Speaking Nerves
I’m familiar with job interviews – heck I had eight before landing my first full-time job out of University. But there’s something about giving your full personality to a complete stranger that can be intimidating.
Having a history of being guilty with over-thinking my thoughts, because I don’t want to appear like I don’t know what I’m talking about, I end up using big words that don’t actually make sense, or changing my laugh so that it sounds less goofy.
Determined to not change who I am, I imagined speaking with a friend. That meant using the same tone, laughing at things that were genuinely funny and responding honestly. After all, the interviewer invited me because of me, so why would I change who I am?
For any reader who doubts themselves, stop over-thinking. Listeners won’t be critiquing you for laughing too loud, being shy or snubbing your content because of your accent.
We are all our own worst enemy. So when listening to the podcast once it was live, naturally I gritted my teeth whenever there was a stumble or I didn’t say what I wish I had. But part and parcel of interviews is saying what comes to your head at that exact moment. And that’s exactly what I did.
In the house alone, sitting on the sofa, with a coffee and water to hand, making myself comfortable helped to calm those pre-interview nerves. I felt relaxed and ready to throw myself into whatever was going to happen.
Over-preparing and trying to guess what will happen doesn’t actually help the interview to run smoother, but makes you feel empty-minded and foolish when something you never expected comes along.
So tell yourself that you cannot control what will happen. What will be will be.
It’s not the end of the world if you make a mistake. Throw yourself in at the deep end and don’t hold back. You’ll have way more fun and gain more from it that way.