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It is very important to prepare before recording a podcast. There are many things that go into getting ready for recording your podcast episode. It doesn't matter if it is your first episode or just one of many, you need to prepare by getting into a pre-recording routine.
If you are going to be doing an interview, there are things you need to prepare beforehand in order for that interview to go smoothly. You are going to want information about your guest's background, you will need to send them a link with the right date and time, and you should test your recording equipment to be sure it is working properly.
Some podcasters need little to no time to prepare, while others need some extensive time to prepare so as to clear the cob webs. Fatigue, a lack of comfort, distractions, and a disruption of routine can all lead to a poor podcasting performance.
Now the following tips may not be exactly what you need to get in your podcast groove and prepare for a great recording, but you might get a few ideas of new things to try if you just don’t feel comfortable yet! These 21 tips can not only help you in your podcasting but can also aid in improving overall mental and physical health. Check it out, and see which ones help you!
21 Tips to Prepare for Your Podcast Recording
Drink a Coffee for Increased Energy
Keep in mind that coffee contains high amounts of caffeine. Caffeine can act as a stimulant, increase alertness and endurance during exercise and other activities. However, too much caffeine may act as a diuretic and affect sleep patterns. The European Food Safety Authority recommends limiting daily caffeine consumption to a maximum of 400mg. A cup of filter coffee typically contains around 90 mg while an espresso contains 80 mg of caffeine.
Caffeine boosts the effects of serotonin, dopamine, and acetylcholine. Dopamine, for example, is known to affect levels of concentration. This means that coffee can help you prepare before a recording because it will increase your concentration levels dramatically, giving you the focus you need to turn in a great podcasting performance.
Take a Walk to Clear Your Mind
Sometimes when we prepare to record we find that we are experiencing some stress. Taking a walk outside in the fresh air has been shown to dramatically reduce stress levels.
Physical activity directly supports stress reduction by encouraging the release of hormones called endorphins that are linked to happiness. Indirectly, going for a walk can give you a sense of escaping to a quiet environment – or at least an environment where no demands are being placed on you. You’ll likely find that your stress levels begin to diminish as you walk.
Make a List of Talking Points
When you prepare for a speech you've likely been advised to create an outline. The same goes for when you prepare for a podcast recording. Prepare some talking points to make it easier for you to make it through the show without any problems.
If you do it right and get into a habit, the list of talking points you prepare can later be used as the outline for your show notes. This will cut the time it takes to prepare show notes for each episode.
Phone a Friend
Many times just talking to someone else gets the communication juices flowing. You may also find a side benefit being a reduction in stress. You might even mention to the friend what the topic of your soon to be recorded show is because a discussion like that is likely to give you some ideas for the show itself.
A simple phone call to a friend may not seem like a great way to prepare for recording an episode, but give it a try. You may just be surprised at how well it works.
De-Clutter Your Workspace
If you prepare by taking the time to neaten up your workspace, you've managed to increase your focus.
Studies show that decluttering your workspace has many benefits. You become more comfortable. Your confidence is increased. You get a feeling of accomplishment. Your creative juices are allowed to flow again. All these things are great when you prepare for your next episode and will help you have a great performance.
Go to the Gym to Get the Blood Pumping
Take a moment to hit the gym. You will melt off the stress you've been feeling and get your blood pumping. This makes you more mentally alert and ready to give a great performance on your show. Studies show that your level of alertness increases after an intense gym session. That's why so many people enjoy working out immediately upon waking up.
Meditate or Take Some Quiet Time
As you prepare for your next episode, consider trying meditation or some quiet time.
People who regularly practice meditation may improve their mental focus by altering brain function. Compared to non-meditators, they may be better equipped to quiet brain activity related to mind-wandering, a new study in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests. This may come as good news, considering the buzz on our increasingly shrinking attention spans.
The study, by Italian neuroscientist Giuseppe Pagnoni, found that meditation not only changes brain patterns, but it also confers advantages in mental focus that may improve cognitive performance.
These kinds of tweaks will give you the focus you need to turn in an amazing podcasting performance. It also reduces stress and anxiety, things you may feel from time to time when you prepare to record an episode.
Read a Relevant Article
As you prepare for your next episode, read an article that is related to the topic of the episode. You may very well find inspiration from that article that will carry you through the episode. I personally find this tip to be one of the better ones.
When I read an article about my show topic, it triggers ideas that I may not have consciously realized. It ties up some loose ends that may be lurking in my brain. This also increases my focus for the topic.
Watch a Relevant YouTube Video
As with an article, watching a relevant YouTube video on the topic of your episode is an excellent way to prepare. The contents presented in the video may very well give you inspiration. You will also bone up on your facts before the show and that will give you extra confidence going into the recording of your episode.
Journal Your Thoughts
Journaling is a great way to get your thoughts out and give them some thought. If you prepare by taking the time to write your thoughts out and analyse them, you will be ready for your episode.
Writing your thoughts in a journal will help you clarify what you want to say about the topic. It will mean that you have already processed the topic in your mind and won't have to do that on the fly as you record your podcast. This will definitely improve your confidence.
Go For a Run
Much like hitting the gym, going for a run is another great way to prepare. Running improves your physical and mental health. It also alleviates stress you may be experiencing.
Many experts consider exercise to be the closest thing to a miracle drug. There are extensive benefits, physically and mentally, you get from exercising. The renewed focus and energy you will feel will help you with your episode.
Take a Moment of Silence
Stop for a moment and take 5 minutes to be silent. Let your stress melt away. Think only about your topic and push other things out of your mind. Make sure you allow your soul to quiet down during this time.
You will find that there is a renewed focus that you feel. You may even feel sharper and more clear thinking. The bottom line is you will be ready to give a great performance if you prepare this way.
Take a moment to take 30 deep breaths. Your brain reacts to deep breathing by telling the body to relax. Deep breathing is the fastest way to relax.
Focused, deep breaths will get you ready to podcast. You will feel creative juices that were stagnant.
Listen to Chill Music
Listening to some smooth jazz or possibly some classical will put you in the right frame of mind if you started out tense and distracted. The music will transform your energy and focus. You will feel like a completely new person.
Listen to Some Hype Music
If you are feeling sluggish, listening to some hype music will get you pumped up and energized. You will be ready to take on the world after you hear some hyped up tunes.
Adjust the Room Temperature
Your environment impacts your productivity. This is a known fact. This includes the temperature of the room you're in.
A cold environment will negatively impact productivity. an awesome study from Cornell examined exactly that, coming to a frightening conclusion. They tested different office temperatures at a large Florida insurance company and this is what they found that when temperatures were low (68 degrees or 20 degrees Celsius) employees made 44% more mistakes than at optimal room temperature (77 degrees or 25 degrees Celsius).
The problem isn’t just that if you are cold you feel uncomfortable, the study points out. The problem is that you are distracted. If you are feeling cold, you are using a substantial amount of your energy to, well, keep warm.
Many people think they are capable of multi-tasking. What these people don't realize is that they reduce their own productivity by continually doing that. Instead, prepare by focusing on one task at a time and completing that task.
It is a good idea to make a checklist and then follow it. This will mostly force you to approach your preparation in a single-threaded manner, one task at a time.
Draw a Picture
It may sound odd, but draw a picture of the first thing that pops into your head. This helps you connect to your thoughts. You represent visually what you're thinking. This also has a calming effect on you.
By adding some focus and relaxation to the time you spend as you prepare for the next episode, you will see major results. It is akin to what we already discussed about exercise.
Leave Your Workspace for a Fun Activity
As you prepare, take some time and step away for some fun activity. Shoot some hoops, throw a ball around with some friends, read a book or play a game. All of these things will recharge you and get your juices going again.
Sit in a Park
Go to a park, find a bench and sit down. Listen to the sounds of nature around you. Let those sounds transform your mind. Let them calm your body.
Write Down What You're Grateful For
No matter your topic, having some positive energy is essential for a good podcast. As you prepare, write down 5 things you are grateful for. Take your time and don't phone this in.
Be sure to truly flesh out your thoughts. Make sure you understand the exercise and do it right. This attitude of gratitude will seep over into your show. People will feel the positive energy that this type of exercise creates.
Sometimes this simple act of listing things you're grateful for will trigger even more topics for your show. It is a nice side effect of this type of exercise. We can all use more topics for discussion.
Why Preparation Matters
Just like with multi-tasking, many people feel they can just come to the interview or show recording without any preparation at all. This is a horrible idea for so many reasons.
Unless you've done 100's of interviews, failing to prepare is guaranteeing failure. Preparation is especially important for interviews.
Choose Your Interview Subject Well
Part of your preparation should be choosing a guest based upon their own unique approach. Nobody wants to hear a show where many different people get interviewed, but they all say basically the same thing.
Spot the unique idea and hone in on it. Bring it to the forefront during the interview.
Get a Good Bio
Many of your guests will go from show to show talking about the same topic. What makes your interview unique is you–the interviewer. Getting a good bio of your guest ahead of time will do wonders towards making your interview a great one.
A Good Bio Builds Reciprocity
Here is the best part of doing the prep. if you deliver a great bio, which tells people what they do, what their services or products are, and how you can get in touch with them, the guest says to themselves: “Wow, she’s done my job for me! And she’s told everyone about my stuff! Well, I wanna give them something back.”
You’ve taken the pressure off your guest. They don’t have to lever their brand, or their service, or their product into the interview. So they start to relax, and skip the standard sales pitch, or the rehearsed lines. They become more themself.
They also begin to feel like they owe you. If you do something for them, the rule of reciprocity says that they’ll want to do something for you. That means getting their game face on and making an effort.
You’d be surprised how many podcast interviewees just turn up to a show and give the same old, same old…but if you surprise them, help them right away, you’re likely to get more out of them during the interview.
Prepare a Fun Opening
By checking out your guest's social profiles, you will learn some of the things they've been up to. Use those things to craft a fun opening that guides you into the interview.
Preparation Brings Success
Solid preparation allows you to bring solid success to the table. You will produce a much better episode and won't have as much trouble asking questions. Your interview or topic will seem much more organized and precise to your listener. That's the entire point of preparation.