TuesdayDec 10, 2019 at 12:34 PM
Yes, an ink-stained dog can learn new podcasting tricks.
It didn’t take me long to discover my verbal crutch. Two years ago, after a long career as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer, I started hosting a podcast for the Ohio State University James Cancer Hospital. The job forced me to listen more closely to my own vocal tendencies, and I came away with a startling discovery: I really like the word “wow.” A lot. And to avoid annoying the listeners of The James Cancer-Free World Podcast, I needed to expand my vocabulary.
That was just one lesson I learned over the course of planning, hosting and editing 40-plus episodes of Cancer-Free World so far. Here are a few more.Like what you’re reading? Subscribe to our weekly newsletters.
Reading is Fundamental
It’s a lot harder than you think to read a few paragraphs of copy and make it sound natural. So before we record a new podcast, I find a quiet place, meditate and spend several minutes reading my three or four introductory paragraphs of copy over and over. And then two more times.
It’s tempting to think ahead to the next question I’m gonna ask the top docs and scientists at the James. Instead, I listen closely to what the person I’m interviewing is saying and ask a follow-up based on his or her response. Be engaged in the conversation.
Yes, I just wrote “gonna” instead of “going to” above. Why? Because I stumble over the words “going to” when I try to read them in my copy. And I say “gonna” a lot, as in: “Today we’re gonna talk to Dr. X about an amazing breakthrough in cancer research.” So avoid words you stumble over. Like rural or spinach.
Need I write more?
But I do put my phone on the desk and turn on the timer to keep track of how long we’ve been talking and when to take our “halftime” break.
When one of the James docs explains immunotherapy, amyloidosis or precision-cancer medicine, and I’m not quite sure if I understand what he or she is saying, I’ll paraphrase, hoping I’m on the right track. This helps the non-scientists out there to better understand.
Before you hit the “live” button for your first-ever, new-and-exciting podcast that will change the course of human existence and surely go viral … make sure you have at least three or four additional episodes “in the can” and ready to go. And stay three or four episodes ahead. Trust me, it’s gonna make life a lot easier.
The Fun Factor
I quickly learned that I really enjoy podcasting. It’s a new way to tell stories, learn, share information and connect with people. Go ahead, give it a try. But remember: It’s a lot of work.
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