Being interviewed for CF podcast - need advice

Amoungst all the scary stuff happening with the health issues in my family right now - I was just asked by a website to do an interview for latter age adults and parents of newborn CF patients. Basically give them hope that their child has a great chance to live a productive life and talk about the research I did.

Here’s the thing though. I HATE my voice. I sound like a total dork if I listen to myself. I’m a natural mumbler, and I get nearly vomity nervous. My mouth gets so cottony words are sometimes unintelligible, and I have a nervous laugh. I know it’s “just a podcast”, but it’ll be going out to most Cystic Fibrosis patients around the world, and I don’t want to come off as an idiot or make people cringe when they hear me talk. It’s happening really fast - I have to go to a recording studio on Monday, but I won’t even get to see the interviewer since they’re doing it remotely.

I’m asking here - because I know a lot of you are involved in making professional podcasts for hardware and gaming sites. Any help or advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

I’ve done radio interviews before. Yes, you sound like a dork, but it doesn’t matter.

Have a bottle of water nearby and open. If you need a sip to wet your mouth, stop talking. Someone else will say something and give you a chance to take a sip.

I’ve done a few podcast film reviews before, and I have the exact same problem. Some of the best things you can do:
-Print out an overview of things you want to talk about. You won’t have to spend time thinking about your next subject, and you won’t forget to talk about anything.

-If you’re recording the file yourself and sending it in (I imagine this is rare in the more professional world) then just do a couple takes of the exact same thing and splice together the better versions in Audacity.

-Don’t spend time worrying about your voice. Accept the fact that you’ll sound terrible. Just try to sound like yourself. Don’t act. That just makes you sound worse if you are not an actor.

-If it’s going to be a long podcast, keep a glass of water near you. You can also smile while you talk (you’ll look more silly, but you’ll sound less silly) as another tactic to keep your voice sounding less worn out and dull.

-Don’t be afraid to just stop talking or slow down if you find yourself needing extra time to think. A lot of us get self conscious while being recorded. The worst thing you can do is rush into a sentence to get it over with. That’s when stupid things come out that you don’t even agree with.

You may want to just record yourself in Audacity a few times before you record the actual podcast. You’ll probably be more comfortable with it than you’re expecting.

They’re sending me to a studio, so I won’t be doing anything myself - just talking.

I think I’m pretty worried/self-conscious because I’ve read so many negative posts about what people hate about gaming podcasts. Ironically? I’ve never listened to a podcast myself. I can’ sit still looking at nothing on my computer that long.

That’s why you listen to a podcast while you’re doing something else. They’re great for farming in Wow, for example.

Drink something warm. It loosens up vocal cords. Keep it near while you are speaking.

Relax, and smile. These things will come through in your voice.

When I’m being recorded or I’m in front of a microphone, talking, I try to use my chest voice, which is a bit deeper than my regular voice. To me, it sounds better.

I definitely recommend recording yourself and listening to it. See if they can send you a list of the questions that they’ll be asking, so that you have an idea of what you would like to say.

Heh. Welcome to the club. I’m afraid my only advice is: “Almost everyone thinks their own image/voice looks/sounds dorky/silly/absurd. Just ignore it.”

Not real helpful advice, I know. But it’s all I got.

Have a list of talking points to look at. Your ideas and what you want to say about them. Don’t treat them like a script that will stiffen your speech and you want to sound more conversational.

Also remember that your interview will go through post production. They’ll take the best questions, cut the weaker, and clean up the audio.

Be sure and let us know when it goes up, though, so we can reassure you that you do in fact sound dorky, objectively.

Hire the movie trailer voiceover guy to come with you and repeat whatever you mumble into the mic.

Hire the movie trailer voiceover guy to come with you and repeat whatever you mumble into the mic.

Hehe, thanks for making me laugh :)

Siren - I’m almost hesitant to record myself beforehand to work on it - I might psyche myself out? It already takes me 20 minutes to record a simple “leave your name and number” answering machine message.

One of the most effective treatments for anxiety disorders is exposure to the anxiety-provoking situation when one is fairly relaxed. So,

  1. Make a list of talking points or likely questions you’ll be asked. The site may be willing to provide you with some sample questions.

  2. Practice one of the deep-breathing or progressive relaxation exercises mentioned in this recent thread.

  3. Make a recording of yourself talking through the points. It would be even better if someone could ask you the questions, and if you could videotape yourself as well as capture audio, but any practice will will help.

  4. Write down a number from 1 to 10 reflecting your confidence with your performance, with 1 reflecting the least confidence, and 10 the highest.

  5. Wait 30 minutes to an hour and repeat the relaxation exercises from step 2.

  6. Listen and/or watch your performance. If you get really anxious at any point during this, turn off the tape for a minute or two and breathe. Then get back to listening.

  7. Write down no more than 3 things you feel you could do to improve your responses. If you get more than 3, pick the most important. If your mind can’t narrow it down, just write “Practice more” and be comfortable with that.

  8. Wait 30 minutes to an hour.

  9. Repeat steps 2 through 8 a few times over the course of a few days.

  10. Review your self-rated confidence numbers from step 4. I’d be surprised if you didn’t see them increase.

  11. Give a much more confident interview than you believed yourself capable of.

  12. Start your own podcast.

  13. Profit.

It helped me immensely. But, YMMV.

I hope the other tips have helped though.

Had the interview today. I had a list of items to follow, but when looking at them got to distracted so I left my notes folded up in my pocket. Subsequently one of the most important things I neded to while talking (smile) I forgot about until I got to my car.

The interview went well, but I had trouble re-stating each question as if I hadn’t been asked a question. The woman who performed the interview (via phone) seemed really pleased with how it went. She said she could envision 4 podcasts from the interview and it’d be the primary feature of their podcast line-up. The interview lasted 70+ minutes and yet there was a wealth of stuff we could have talked about but held off on.

Thanks for all the advice and I’ll post an update to this thread when the first one gets aired (probably summer).

I’m glad it went well, JP!

steer clear of dairy before hand.

Creates phlegm.

Congrats, jp!

You’re not alone in hating your own voice. I hate how I sound and it’s one reason I’m always so reluctant to use voice chat in games. The online gaming world is filled with enough dorky sounding guys that I opt to remain quiet and not speak unless I absolutely have to. The one voice that commands respect and is so influential in getting people to follow directions in online gaming is the guy that has the gruff blue-collar, Harley riding, ex-prisoner, chain smoking type of voice. It just oozes with testosterone and manliness that no mortal nerd would ever dare to cross in the virtual arena.

Dude, you can’t have tanked too bad if they kept you going for over an hour! Congrats! From one dorky voiced guy to another, I look forward to hearing you when it goes online.


Celine Dion eats a single solitary soda cracker just before each performance. To clear phlegm. Maybe.