I think someone said that by the end of this decade everyone on the planet will have been a guest on someone’s podcast. Well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration; but it certainly seems like it could be true. So, what if you have been asked to be a guest on a podcast? If the podcast is recording remotely that means you will have to link up with the podcaster via your computer, tablet or cellphone. What can you do, as the guest, to make it the best possible technical experience possible?
First, if you have a choice, always go with the computer. The cellphone or tablet is fine if you have no other option, but technically the computer is best. Either way, the following suggestions apply to all.
- Try to be in a quiet area. If there are people around, tell them that you are recording a podcast and would they mind leaving the area or being quiet. If this is not possible, don’t worry about it. The podcast host may decide to let their listeners know about the situation and then move on with the conversation. If you are using a phone or tablet do not do it in the car while driving. Find a quiet area to park.
- Turn off notifications. Turn off your cellphone if you are using the computer. Consider closing your email for the duration to avoid those bleeps and bloops that come with notifications.
- Signal Strength. If you are on the cellphone, make sure that you are in a strong wireless area and have plenty of bars. If you are using a computer, if possible, have the computer hooked directly to the modem by using an ethernet cable. If not, then get as close to the wireless signal as possible.
- Jewelry. Remove any loose or noisy jewelry. Bracelets, watches and necklaces can clunk on desks or come in contact with the microphone. This is very distracting to the listener.
- Clothing. Yes, some clothing is noisier than others. Try to stay away from leather, or other garments that make sound.
- Hair. If you have long hair, you should make sure that it does not come in contact with the mic. Tie it up in a bun or ponytail.
- Chair squeaks and leather noises. Check out the chair you will be sitting on. Does it squeak when you move? Does it make an embarrassing sound? If it does, swap it out for a quieter one.
- Mics (Wired Earbuds vs Bluetooth). There are lots of choices when it comes to microphones. If you are on the cellphone, PLEASE DO NOT PUT IT ON SPEAKER!! When you are on speaker it enhances all the background noise. If you have a wired mic that you can use with the cellphone, that would be best.
If you have Bluetooth earbuds, even the expensive ones, they may not be the best choice. That is because the microphone is located within the buds they are in your ears. The buds are nowhere near your mouth, so the sound is not going to be as good as if you had a mic in front of your mouth.
When you are using your computer there are different styles and levels you can choose from. If you think that you are going to be a frequent guest on podcasts, or you participate in lots of remote meetings, you may want to invest in a USB microphone. A USB mic plugs directly into a USB port on the computer. There are lots to choose from and they cost from $99 to over $300.
You can also choose a USB headset with mic attached. Gamers like to use these types of microphones. If someone in the house is a gamer maybe they can loan you theirs when you need it.
You would be surprised how adequate a wired earbud headset with a mic is. These are the earphones you might use when listening to music. Most of these earphones have a mic attached on the cord in the shape of a small rectangle on one of the cords and is about the size of a small paperclip.
And finally, you may have no other choice then to use your computer’s mic. That’s okay. The listener will stay engaged as long as they are interested in the subject matter. So don’t worry about.
- Zoom audio settings. If you are using Zoom, which is the most popular platform that is used, you will need to make some simple adjustments to make sure Zoom is using your microphone.
When you are admitted into a “Zoom room” you can then right click on the Mute button at the lower left corner. Then click on select a microphone. You should see your mic listed. Select that and then you should be ready to go. The podcast host or technical producer will let you know if there are any issues with the audio and they will talk you through correcting any issues that may arise.
Remember – Don’t worry if something goes wrong. Things happen. Once you start recording, relax and enjoy the conversation. The producer’s goal is to make this the best experience possible for you and they want the best conversation for the listener. If there are mistakes or stumbles, that’s what editing is for. Most podcasts do not go live. They go through an editing process.
That’s it. Now you are armed with all you need to know to be the best podcast guest. Enjoy the experience!
Michael Boyd – Podcast Atlantic