If you want to work in broadcasting, the first thing to focus on is your voice. Even for those who have been broadcasting for some time, there is always room for improvement. You should develop your voice for TV, radio, or podcasts so that you sound professional when you speak into the microphone.
In previous times, finding your broadcast voice was simple. Men only have to speak in their voice as deep as possible, while women used feminine voices. Today, however, this formula no longer works. Such voices sound artificial on the air and live programs. Whether you are a radio jockey, podcaster, interviewer, or a public speaker, your orating skills should be on point. Here are ten ways to help you advance your speaking skills.
1. Listen To Your Voice
To build a natural-sounding broadcast voice, you need to listen to yourself first. You can record your conversation with a friend. Compare the recording to how you sound on the air. Analyze what you want your tone to sound like.
Here is one difference you should know between a normal conversation and broadcasting. A conversation has several peaks in speed, inflection, and empathy. But while broadcasting, your voice may sound flat, especially when you are reading from a script. Consequently, your tone can sound plain and expressionless.
Here is what you can do. Read the script you will use in your upcoming broadcast. Keep the script aside. Now, record yourself saying the same information as you would to a friend. Make sure as to not read anything but just casually talk about the content in the script. Listen to the recording. What you will hear is likely the optimal vocal delivery style you should have on the air.
2. Grow Your Confidence
No one is going to listen to you if you do not sound confident enough. Here are six techniques to help you build your confidence when speaking.
Expect to be nervous
To begin with, avoid being overconfident. It is natural to feel nervous, especially when you are broadcasting for the first time. So embrace the feeling and accept that you will get nervous. Firstly, you must avoid looking around nervously. Keep your eyes on the camera and imagine talking face to face with a real person.
Keep your face as active and animated as it would be in a personal conversation.
Prepare your speech or content
When facing a broadcast, the more you prepare ahead of time, the calmer you will feel. Good preparations are a hit or miss in your performance. If you have to present larger pieces of context, you can’t improvise it well without preparing.
Instead of writing down long lines, compress your script into bullets as it will stay in your memory for longer. If you tend to ramble on, you can benefit from a script.
Always do your research when you have to share any facts or figures. Also, make sure that you know the correct pronunciation of names places, etc.
Breathe deeply to expand your vocals
Certain breathing exercises can help improve your voice quality. Inhale deeply while slowly counting to four. Then, exhale while slowly counting to four. Try your best to maintain the sense of expansion you achieved during inhalation. Do this twice every hour. You can also try other breathing exercises.
Practice in a reasonable environment
Make sure you practice in the right environment. Find and practice in a secluded and quiet place if your house is noisy or you have loud neighbors. Practicing in front of the mirror could be effective for most people.
Rehearse out loud
Rehearsing out loud allows you to practice different parts of your speech or content before you deliver. When you rehearse different parts, you can put effective points together for a seamless script. Then, you can practice it before delivering it.
Focus on your audience
It is crucial to understand your audience before broadcasting; you must know who your audience is. You should know whether your show or podcast is for young adults or elders. For instance, if your audience is the general public, address their common interests or problems. Focusing on your audience will help you form a better connection with them.
Read further tips if you want to work on building your confidence.
3. Develop Ad-Lib Skills
Ad-libbing is to speak without any preparation. As a broadcaster, you will often find yourself in a situation when you have to speak extempore. To avoid mistakes, develop your ad-libbing skills before you get to speak about something you haven’t prepared for.
A feature of ad-libbing is that it can be both easy and difficult at the same time. It can be easier because you are simply talking into the microphone. You will sound as natural as you sound on the telephone.
However, at times when you don’t have a script ready, it can be difficult to decide what to speak about. If you don’t know what to speak about, you can turn the impromptu session into a Q&A session. Storytelling is one of the best ways to fill impromptu sessions. Stories are real, interesting, and emotional. It is much easier to speak when telling a story because you have experienced the events before, and you are retelling it from memory. Find out other tips that can help you develop your ad-libbing skills.
4. Practice Vocal Training
Listening to your voice and building your confidence can help you improve your speaking skills. But it cannot improve your voice quality overnight. If you have never been on TV or radio, you need to put more effort into vocal style. Sometimes, it is as simple as switching out a few words.
Record yourself reading from a script and ad-libbing. Ideally, you will sound the same. If not, you know that you need more practice.
Avoid adding mechanical tricks when you are practicing. For instance, you should not add deliberate pauses in a single sentence. ‘‘The boy survived the crash. (Pause) His father did not.’’ You shouldn’t sound like an orator trying to deliver a speech. Instead, try sounding like you have a personal and intimate connection with each member of the audience.
Take time to master your vocal skills. It will be worth the time and give a huge pay off as you advance in your career.
5. Pay Attention To Your Speaking Volume
Even if you are confident, a weak speaking volume can accord fear and discomfort. You won’t be able to keep your audiences’ attention for long if you are not vocal enough. At the same time, you shouldn’t sound too loud as well. You have to speak assertively without trailing off.
The key is to develop a natural speaking volume. Your sound should be confident and pleasant to listen to. Once you have that, you can easily alter your pitch to emphasize on something to keep your listener’s attention.
6. Slow Down And Pause On Emphasis
As you practice speaking, you may find out that you are speaking a bit faster than usual. Speaking fast is a defense mechanism most people unknowingly use. People tend to speak quickly when they fear losing someone’s attention.
But when you are in a rush, you stumble over words and use your breath before your sentence is completed. You shouldn’t sound like a fervent talk show host. Rather, speak to your listeners as if they are your friends.
The key here is to deliver your message with proper emphasis. Speak calmly so that your listeners can internalize what you are delivering. This is how you can engage your audience well.
Another feature that beginners need to know is when to take pauses. Of course, you need to pause to catch your breath in between sentences, but you can also use pauses to your advantage.
Speakers use pregnant pauses to emphasize key messages. Using pauses at the right time helps to create variety. This keeps the listener guessing and anticipated what you are going to say next. Or you can also use the silence to make the listener take in after you share some intriguing information.
7. Pay Attention To Your Breathing
While you are recording and listening to yourself speak, focus on how you breathe. Your breath is what powers your voice. You need to be in control of it as you want to speak effectively. Controlling your breath helps you maintain proper intonation, pitch, and speed.
Most people breathe differently when they are nervous. Even if you are trying to sound calm, your breathing affects your speed and tone even if you are slightly nervous.
Ideally, your emotions sync with the way you sound. But when you are broadcasting regularly, you may not be feeling great every day. You need to ensure that your breath is consistent, regardless of how you are feeling.
8. Tweak Your Scripts
You shouldn’t always be dependent on your scriptwriters. Regardless of how awesome your script is, there is always room for little alterations. You can tweak the script here and there so that it aligns with your style.
For instance, you have a script that talks about improvements in transportation and infrastructure by the state. You can replace bureaucrat-like talk with simpler words like ‘roads and bridges.’
Your scriptwriter may write sentences that sound too long or too short. Long sentences are hard to say effectively because you’re waiting for it to finish so you can take a breath. Meanwhile, a lot of short sentences give a rat-a-tat sound to your audience.
You are free to vary the length of the sentences. If you feel you are stuck with a long sentence, make the next sentences shorter. You will be surprised to find how making slight changes can greatly help your broadcasting style.
9. Stress Control
Anything can happen during a live broadcast. The key to surviving through all sorts of situations is to stay calm. This quality is very useful in handling stressful situations. Even if you have prepared everything perfectly, things don’t always go as planned. When you have guests on your show, you don’t always know what way the conversation can turn. You can rely on a few ways to control stress during live broadcasting.
The first thing is to ensure that you don’t completely rely on the script. As long as you can speak extempore, you can easily solve most of your problems.
Another reason for stress is obsessing over impressing your audience. In an attempt to make an impression on the audience, you may over-rehearse, which can burn you out before your show or podcast starts. Just focus on the important ideas that you need to share. People understand that broadcasting isn’t an easy task. Making a few minor blunders doesn’t mean that it’s the end of your career.
10. Stay Upbeat And Positive
We just talked about how you don’t feel the same when you are broadcasting every day. People always want to listen to someone who sounds cheerful upbeat and gives off good vibes. If you aren’t feeling good, regular listeners can sense it.
We recommend that you spend at least 20 to 30 minutes before your podcats to be genuinely positive, happy, and energetic. You can read your favorite book or get some coffee. You can even listen to some music or chat with a friend on the phone. Remember to smile when you are recording. Your audience can’t see you smiling but can definitely hear you smile. Plus, smiling can help you sound better.
Broadcasting skills are quite different from public speaking skills. Broadcasting requires advanced speaking skills, for which you’ll have to train quite a lot. You need to take care of numerous factors while speaking. Ensuring that your voice sounds perfect on the air and keeping your audience engaged throughout the session are just a few examples.
While it is always great to prepare beforehand, don’t stick to the script. You can make alterations as per your theme and need. Learn to speak extempore and stay calm in case you face any unexpected circumstances. And lastly, do stay positive and cheerful while you speak.