How to be the star of your podcasts and webinars

If you’re doing a podcast or webinar, you might want to take a lesson or two from Stuart McLean. McLean has a show on CBC radio called The Vinyl Cafe. In it, the popular author and humorist delights listeners with stories of everyday life in small-town Canada.

McLean reads his stories in front of a live audience. Later they’re played on the radio or published as podcasts. I went to a live recording. On stage was a music stand, a script and a microphone. I expected McLean to walk in, say a few words and then start reading.

Instead, he bounded on stage like a puppy. He quickly engaged the audience, connected with them through topical and regional references, and then got down to the business in hand.

McLean was mesmerizing. He never stood still as he read. He gestured all the time. He expanded and contracted his body like an elastic band. He shifted his weight constantly from one foot to the other. He smiled. He frowned. He raised his voice. He lowered his voice.

McLean infused his reading with passion and energy. And that bought his stories to life, not only for the live audience but also for anyone hearing them on the radio or via podcast.

Body language and tone are important aspects of our presentation skills coaching. So here are a few tips for when you do a podcast or webinar:

  • Use a music stand or some type of lectern for your script. Improvise if necessary. You can work wonders with a cardboard box or a pile of books.
  • Always stand. That way you will free your hands to gesture and your body to move.
  • Get energized. Try some quick energy-building exercises just before you deliver.
  • Shift your weight from one foot to another when you speak. Use you whole body as an instrument for communicating meaning and emotion to the audience.
  • Maintain a consistent distance from the microphone so your audio levels are always the same.
  • Vary your tone appropriately. Smile. The listeners will hear the smile in your voice.
  • Get passionate about your content. Don’t be afraid to show that passion when you speak.
  • Always imagine your audience as you’re speaking. You’re not talking to the microphone. That’s just the conduit that links you to real people who are really interested in what you have to say.

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