13 pro vocal tips for podcasters presented here to achieve best vocals, stand out & get more listener can be qualified into 3 categories:
- Style – voice style, enunciation, convey emotions
- Technique – standing, breathing, pacing, pauses, elimination of filers & inflection
- Maintenance – voice protection, hydration, warm-up
There are multiple ways to improve your podcast voice quality with a financial investment. However, most productions don’t require too expensive microphones, preamps, and studio soundproof level setup. You can actually improve your podcast audio quality immensely by training your voice and taking care of yourself properly. Applying those tips requires $0 investment. It’s free but will require some time to master the skills.
Implement in parallel all the technical tips to make your audio quality even better: 19 voice tips – effective professional podcasting guide.
1. Think about your voice – apply a narration style suitable for your podcast’s theme
Make a research on how other podcasters in your specific niche are talking. Check if their voice and narration style fit the topic or would a different tone maybe work better.
We can easily recall certain characteristic sounding voices available in mass media. There is the deep Hollywood trailer voice, boxing match announcer, enthusiastic sports commentator, deep but soothing late night radio DJ, etc.
Think if a deeper or higher voice is more suitable for your podcast. Consider the pace of speaking. Do you need to enunciate everything perfectly or is a more modern much more conversational and casual style applicable? Do you want to sound like a mentor and expert or more like a friend? Whatever you choose as the best fitting option try speaking clearly.
If you are looking for inspirations for a show, check out our list of available ideas: 40 Podcasting Shows Ideas Available for the Taking Now!
2. Experiment with enunciation – record, listen, modify
If you want to sound like a professional on your podcast then consider modifying your vocals to some extent. Your natural voice when recorded can lose some warmth, vibe, and emotions. Most people will sound better when applying some modifications and working on their enunciation.
It is important to find the right balance between how you naturally sound and focused enunciation. It is important to record yourself, listen and correct. Make a few tries before you decide on a vocal style you want to apply. Listen to your voice, make notes where some phrases came mumbled or words were indistinct so you can easily correct this with a reasonable amount of practice.
Listening to yourself will sound strange at the beginning, With time you will hear the difference as you start introducing changes to your vocals. Consult people who know you and ask does your recording sounds good enough and close to your natural way of speaking. You may need to perform a little over the top in front of the mic in order to make the final effect sound natural.
3. Communicate emotions and feelings through your podcast
As mentioned in tips before it is important to find an overall style for a podcast. But next, you need to find how to convey emotions in your show. Think about how you are going to express excitement, joy, and enthusiasm and how will you show care, sadness or sorrow.
This is an additional layer you should search after finding your overall style and enunciation.
Your podcast needs to communicate with your audience and nothing communicates better than emotions. But have a restraint at the beginning of your carrier and vocal experiments not to overdo it and end up with the unnaturally sounding episode.
4. Stand while you are recording
Practice recording your podcast while standing. There are good reasons why professional voice-over artist records while standing up, instead of sitting.
In the beginning, you could feel a bit uncomfortable but this will pass. Especially once you will be able to hear improvement in your podcast quality.
Key benefits of stand up recording:
Open up your breath – standing enables a deeper breather and makes it easier to pronounce with more clarity and consistency. When sitting you have compression on your diaphragm (it contracts and flattens when you inhale). When you stand up you remove this pressure and allows for deeper breaths.
- With increase breath capacity you can record longer phrases.
- Lowering the breath rate helps you avoid running out of air.
- With improved airflow, you will be able to speak more clearly.
Allow for easier expression – while standing you are not bound by the close proximity of objects surrounding you. This allows for a better expression, hand gestures, whole-body movement, and head shifting. All those motions will impact your delivery and can boost your vocal quality and overall quality of the episode.
- With released muscle tension you will feel overall more relaxed.
Practice recording standing up. Feel and listen to how differently your voice will sound as opposed to recording in sitting position. Search for the appropriate level of expression for your specific podcast.
5. Practice breathing
As mentioned in the previous point when record standing you will improve your audio by improving your breath. But you can go even further by practicing to make your breath nor obviously audible. Modern recording standards, and especially podcasting scene, where not everyone is a professional voice over artists, are more liberal when it comes to audible breathing. It is overall more acceptable today but if you practice you can have another advantage and a better quality podcast.
- Eliminate big gasping breaths by practicing silent breathing.
- Knowing your script will help you. Look for moments where the script requires pauses. This is where you can take deeper breaths.
- Recognize which sentences will require faster delivery and breath before or after to avoid losing breath mid-sentence.
- Finally, position your microphone correctly. Don’t have it directly in front of your mouth when airflow is the strongest but have it to the side and above or below your lips line.
- Control yourself and once you position your microphone don’t turn your head instinctively towards the mic. Keep your head away or even tilt it further for a short period of time to minimize the sound.
Controlling your breath properly instead of turning head away may be useful for you if you record with guests and don’t want to be distracting or if you want to promote your podcast with video recording and don’t want to distract the viewers.
6. Review the script – boost your confidence and eliminate stutter
If you are doing your own podcast scripts then you will probably are familiar with the material. Anyway, there might be situations where you have prepared your script and are recording after some time has passed. Or if your material required longer research from start to finish of the script.
Knowledge of the material is crucial as it will make you more relaxed providing for a more natural flow of the episode.
- Rehearse out loud – The script sounds different in your head. Read the material aloud several times before you start recording. This will also warm up your vocal cords.
- Rewrite if the written script doesn’t flow when reading out loud – don’t get too attached to clever words and phrases you have used. Sometimes what we write down doesn’t sound good and natural when vocalized. Edit your podcast script if you need with the goal to simplify and make it clearer and easier to understand for your audience.
- Consider Speed – recognize when there are moments when you can speed up with your voice over and when you should slow down. Correct pacing can improve your performance and quality of the episode.
- Add emotions – add subtle emotions to your show. Think how best to address sadness, fear, joy, excitement, etc. Be mindful and have a restraint not to sound like an annoying local radio commercial.
- Avoid pitfalls – most common are technical terms and foreign words. Read them out loud and get familiar with the pronunciation. Also, avoid complex phrases that will twist your tongue and complicate the recording process and require multiple takes.
7. Slow down your narration
When you are reviewing your script note which elements require faster pacing for more emotional delivery and where you can and should slow down for a moment of suspense and for your listener to have a pause to think.
Slowing down is also important not only for building suspense but it is an overall recommendation as most podcasting beginners tend to speak too fast. You shouldn’t rush through your material. Given your audience time to enjoy your show.
Practice this by reading the script aloud and fit the tone of your podcast to the material you are presenting. Aim for a pleasant, conversational tone.
Slowing down is also a great help with eliminating fillers and vocal inflection described in points below.
8. Make pauses – recapture listeners attention
Pauses while talking are important to capture the attention of your listeners. If you record a podcast at a constant pace, even if you are not monotonous you can lose your audience. The attention can easily drift away as people start thinking about other things or even contemplating a bit you just mentioned a moment ago.
Additionally, since a large percentage of people listen to podcasts while doing other things parallelly (driving, cleaning, doing house chores) the risk of losing attention is much higher. That is why pauses are so important. You should try to recapture and re-engage your listeners in your podcast on a regular basis.
9. Eliminate fillers – you can easily do it with a bit of practice
A filler is a sound, word or phrase that is spoken in conversation to signal to others a pause to think without giving the impression of having finished speaking. Each language has a bit different fillers but they play the same role
Most prevalent fillers in English are:
- Sounds – ah or uh, er, and um.
- Words/phrases – like, you know, I mean, okay, so, actually, basically, right.
In professional podcasts or recordings, the effect is very unpleasant for the listener. We can, of course, edit them and cut them out but it is extremely difficult to recreate in software the impressions of natural flow, eloquence, and confidence. Your goal needs to be practicing to eliminate humms exactly for those reasons. Most basic things which will help you are:
- Overall knowledge of the topic and initial preparation.
- Aware removal of hesitation from your speech.
- Practice with the specific final material before recording.
10. Eliminate vocal inflection
Vocal inflection is applying the intonation of your voice on the last word. It indicates the more important role of the word in a sentence. By applying this intonation your sentences can sound like questions, or like insecure statements asking for approval. How to simply overcome this habit:
- Familiarity with the overall topic will boost your confidence and delivery of your message.
- Practice with final material – know when the sentences are ending so you can end them in a neutral tone.
- Practice aloud and even record and listen to your practice sessions.
11. Protect your voice – especially 24 hours before recording
When becoming a podcaster your voice becomes your tool. Take good care of it like you would for your expensive microphone.
- Save your voice – at least 24 hours before recording reduce or even stay away entirely from alcohol, smoking, avoid long public speeches and screaming at events and parties. Don’t wear out your vocal cords.
- Rest and regenerate – have a long uninterrupted session of good night’s sleep to help your muscles (including muscles responsible for breathing and voice) regenerate.
- Stay hydrated – try overall drinking at least half a gallon (2 liters) of water daily. Drink it throughout the whole day with small sips. This will keep you hydrated and protect your voice from damaging too easily. Also during the recording day drink room temperature water. Both too hot and too cold water can have adverse effects.
- Observe the effect of medication – if you are taking medications to check if they have any effect. Both prescription drugs and over-the-counter substances can have a deteriorating effect like dryness. Check with your doctor if there are alternatives or don’t record soon after taking the medicine.
Some people experience also an adverse impact on their voice while drinking coffee, milk, dairy products, and carbonated beverages. They can mainly contribute to dryness and a bad sounding voice. Our advice is to consume them in moderate before recording to avoid risks if you experience any of those effects.
12. Warm-up your vocals – don’t sound tired when you record
You will simply sound better after warming-up your voice. This is especially important if you are recording early in the morning and you didn’t have a chance to have a natural warm-up. Don’t ever record straight out of the bed as your voice is worst when you wake up (do you remember how people sound on the phone when you wake them up with your call?). Also after a long sleep, you are naturally dehydrated.
Wait at least 30 minutes to an hour. Use this time to hydrate yourself, warm-up your voice and get your brain working in a higher gear.
Good warm-up approaches working for us are:
- Record the first few paragraphs two or three times in the beginning.
- Re-record the first few paragraphs at the end before the end of your podcast episode.
- If you are in a hurry try at least humming before you start recording.
Here is a 10-minute warm-up routine you can use. Works great!
13. Re-recording – avoid it but make notes of the original setup just in case
Avoid re-recording parts of the material after time when you record in imperfect, home conditions. It is very difficult to recreate exactly the same setup and the more your environment impacts your recording quality the higher is the chance that re-recorded fragment will stand out unpleasantly.
Despite that, we are sometimes forced to re-record the portion of our episode. To recreate the environment make simple notes which will help you to replicate the original setup:
- Time and conditions of the recording – this is most important from the perspective of your vocals. Were you relaxed and properly prepared for a recording session? Or were you recording tired, after a difficult week of work and not enough sleep, taking some medication?
- Location (if you don’t always record in the same room).
- Used equipment (if you have multiple mics, preamps, windscreens, etc.).
- Presets of your recording software.
Bonus vocal tip – Invest in premium equipment
Lastly, although this post is about vocal tips you can’t underestimate the value of good quality equipment. The quality of equipment does make an impact on the sound of your audio and on your podcast. By applying all the vocal tips mentioned here you will improve your audio regardless of the equipment you are using and you actually can make a decent sounding podcast without investing too heavily in the equipment. However supreme quality is only achievable with great microphone, preamps, cables, and necessary accessories.
In our podcasting gear guide, you can also find recommended stands, which are necessary to have if you are going to implement our “Stand while you are recording” advice. Check out our recommendations: Best Podcasting Gear – detailed guide & recommendations.