How Podcasting Has Improved My Public Speaking – By Daniel M. Clark

by Colleen on August 17, 2012

I’m not a perfect public speaker. I have forgetful moments. I trip over a word or three. I have, on occasion, completely forgotten to make an important point during a presentation. Yet, I am far, far better than I used to be, thanks entirely to podcasting.

So… Many… People…

Prior to 2011, my experience with public speaking was very limited. There had been a few panels at events like Affiliate Summit, but the crowds were always small and I wasn’t the focus; being part of a panel alleviates a lot of pressure. It was Affiliate Summit West 2011 that I first led a session. Affiliate Improv! was to be an audience participation session about brainstorming, and when I walked into the room 15 minutes before we were to start, I panicked.

There had to have been 300 people. When I say prior crowds had been small, I mean 20-30 people. This was nothing like I expected, and I froze. My friend and Affiliate Improv! panelist, Jen Goode, snapped me out of my daze by saying something that still resonates with me today:

“You talk to thousands of people on your podcasts every week. You can do this.”

She was right. I won’t lie and say that I didn’t think about not coming back from the restroom in the minutes before we went on, but it was a fleeting thought.

Putting on “The Voice”

The session was a big success, and thinking about it later, I came to understand the connection between podcasting and public speaking. Podcasting prepares you for public speaking in two major ways.

First, like Jen said, you walk into a room armed with the knowledge that you talk to crowds of people all the time—albeit though a computer. Second, you develop a rhythm and a persona that is right there waiting for you to turn it on.

Most episodes begin the same way. I have a rhythm and cadence to my words when I say, “Welcome to the show. My name is Daniel M. Clark,” From there I introduce my co-hosts with, again, a set rhythm and cadence. I don’t change it up much, and that’s important. It gives me something to say without thinking much about it.

Paradoxically, the less you think, the better the performance in some instances.

I use nearly that same rhythm and cadence when I introduce myself in public speaking roles now. All I need is a few seconds of talking to get me relaxed in front of a crowd. Having a set introduction, thanks to my podcasting experience, gives me that time.

Bottom line? If you’re looking to start speaking in public, consider starting a podcast as a means of practice and preparation. Move your mouth. Make words come out. The more you do that, the less nerve-wracking the venue becomes.

I’m going to try to remember that when I step on stage for the first time as Emcee of Affiliate Summit East 2012.

Daniel M. Clark is a podcasting consultant and Newcomer Program coordinator for Affiliate Summit West.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly Mccausey August 19, 2012 at 3:35 pm

What a great way to think of it. I know that many of my episodes reach thousands but have never really considered that I was ‘talking to thousands’. Very encouraging 🙂

danielmclark August 21, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Thanks Kelly!

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