Podcasting With A Voice That Could Peel Paint

Photo by Morgan Basham on Unsplash

Hey, podcasters: Can we stop with the obsession over perfect-for-radio voice? The vast majority of working actors have “non-standard appearances” that don’t get in the way of their success.

I really hate the catchphrase, “ I have a face for radio! “ I’m clearly a fan of self-deprecation, but there’s so much assumption wrapped up in that statement that it really irritates me.

One of the most common reasons that stop people from podcasting, or causes them to stop podcasting, or won’t even let them start podcasting… is their voice. Specifically, they don’t think their voice is “right” for podcasting.

That’s insane.

Don’t Hate Them Because They Are Not Beautiful

Think about the last movie or TV episode you watched. If you were to make a list of every single actor who had a speaking role or warranted a listing in the IMDB credits, and you were to then rank or rate then by “objective” good looks or attractiveness, you would find that the vast majority of those actors aren’t what most of society would consider “beautiful”.

The vast majority of actors you see on the screen have non-standard appearances. Yet they are working actors. They are the people who make the movies you enjoy better.

Contrary to popular belief, movies and television shows are not the exclusive domain of beautiful people. In fact, beautiful people are the exception rather than the rule. The movies and television shows you and I watch are the domain of people. Just people.

Steve Buscemi is one of my favorite actors. He has a non-standard appearance and gets leading roles, not bit parts. The same goes for Bill Murray, John C. Riley, and almost every other actor. Would the shows they appear in be better if they instead had classic good looks? No, not at all.

Nota bene: My focus on male actors in the examples above is completely intentional, lest some asshat miss the context. This is not about the validity of my or anyone’s opinion on what makes or does not make another human attractive. That, and I’m a dude.

It Takes More Than A Pretty Face

These professional working actors all share one thing in common, and it has nothing to do with their faces. It’s that they are professional actors who are very, very good at what they do. All of them have worked and continue to work very, very hard on their craft, often spending hours of continual, on-going training to become very good at what they do.

Podcasters, do you see the obvious connection to our world? You do not have to have a deep, booming “radio voice” when you speak to make it in podcasting. In fact, a podcast episode filled with deep, booming “radio voices” would be difficult for most people to enjoy. Because that’s hard for us to relate to. And it’s a bit exhausting to hear. Sorry, Moviefone guy.

Podcast listeners want and expect to hear regular people with regular voices. Yes, with all of the weird foibles of voices we encounter in everyday life. We do not only want to hear people with perfect voices or those who’ve gone through classical voice training. We want to hear people, just like us.

Don’t Use That As Excuse To Be Lazy, Podcaster

If you’re presenting your voice to the public, you should work at making your voice as good as it can be. No, I didn’t say “as pleasant” as can be. Or as “approachable” as can be. I said as good as it can be.

You get to decide what “good” means.

But don’t work at changing your voice. Your voice is your voice. You can’t “change” your voice any more than Bill Murray can “change” his face. With actors, it’s about learning how to use their faces. And for podcasters like us, it’s about learning how to use our voices effectively.

The most important thing about a podcaster is not the tone or timbre of their voice: It’s the way they deliver words to the audience.

My friend and fellow podcaster George Hrab has a song that, I feel, perfectly captures this reality. It’s called Blue Genes and is worth a listen. Yes, right now.

Chance are, you’ve met with a friend who’s cast doubt on their own vocal prowess, perhaps even uttering the dreaded “I don’t have the right voice for podcasting” phrase. Send them a link to this episode, would you? Perhaps it will go a long way to showing that they do have the right voice for podcasting because their voice is the right voice for podcasting.

And you can always go to BuyMeACoffee.com/EvoTerra to support the wonderful things that come out of my mouth four days a week.

I shall be back tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications.

Originally published at https://podcastpontifications.com, where it started life as an episode of my four-times-a-week short-form podcast called, oddly enough, Podcast Pontifications. It’s a podcast for working podcasters that’s focused on trends in our growing industry and ideas on ways to make podcasting not just easier, but better. Yes, you should listen. Here’s an easy way: 👇

Evo Terra (hey, that’s me!) has been podcasting since 2004, is the author of Podcasting For Dummies and Expert Podcasting Practices for Dummies, and is the CEO and founder of Simpler Media Productions, a strategic podcast consultancy working with businesses, brands, and professional service providers all around the world.

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