Hi there, my name’s Kate Cocker, and I’m the Presenter Coach. I’ve been working with radio presenters now for the last, well, over 15 years, really. People at the top of their game, people just starting out.
So I wanted to share some of the tips and techniques that I’ve been using with those presenters. And one of the first things that I’ve really come across a lot, especially with my clients today, is about starting.
So is it that you aren’t presenting now, but you’d really, really love to be a radio presenter? Or it might be that you’ve been presenting in music radio, for a really long time, but you’d like to make the transition into talk radio.
In both cases, the biggest tip that I can give you is start doing what it is you want to do. So, if you’ve never done radio before, make sure that you get onto the radio. Make sure that you’re broadcasting regularly. You can do this by going to a community radio stations, there’s a great little system called Upload Radio, where you can pay to put your show together and they upload it to their internet radio station. There’s a ton of internet radio stations, probably in your local area, and worse come to worse, you’ve always got podcasting, and that’s a great option.
So get broadcasting, get doing, listen, and get yourself some feedback. If you’re transitioning from something like music radio into talk radio or sports broadcasting, the same applies. Get yourself into a position where you are making sporting or talk radio, and you’re broadcasting in that way.
Because the thing you’re gonna need is content to send to program controllers to convince them that you’re trustworthy, and you’re also gonna need the opportunity to just get better at it, and you can only do that by putting in the time.
If you want some more tips and trick to help you craft the skills that you’ve got for radio presenting, then check out my online course at thepresentercoach.co.uk/radio.
Press play on the video below to watch my presenting tips to slow yourself down.
Hi there, my name’s Kate Cocker, and I’m The Presenter Coach. I’ve been working with radio presenters, now, for over 15 years, whether it be producing, or coaching them, to be better on air. But my biggest thing is, that you get to be the best that you can be, and you have all the tools to do that, and all the skills to do that.
Now, I was in the supermarket the other day, and one of the guys in the supermarket had seen one of my videos, and said to me, “Kate, Kate, Kate, Kate, Kate,” his name was Abs, “I need you to help me with something. “I’m on the radio. I’m on at Reform Radio, and I want to improve my pace because I speak really fast.”
Now, pace is something that comes up a lot and, in fact, three times this week, I have done this exercise that I’m going to share with you now, that will help you with improving the speed you’re talking at.
So, most of us speak very quickly, when we’re with our friends and we’re very excited, and we’re talking with our friends. And on air, that doesn’t always translate to something that’s legible. Some people drop their T’s and all the words merge together. And it’s really important that people can really understand what you say.
The one reason that listeners will turn off is if they can’t understand what’s going on, like when the phone crackles, when the call is on, and lots of pick listeners will go, “Oh, I can’t hear it; I’ll turn off.” And if you’re speaking too quick, that’s going to have a similar impact.
So, there are two things that you can do.
First of all, let the silence in
So, when you are doing your presenting, and you’re doing your links, or when you’re doing a monologue, even, if you’re on talk radio, it’s, sometimes really powerful to just let the silence in. And I’m not talking about extending the end of your sentence. I’m just talking about: Let the silence in.
It works with guests as well. If you’ll pause, they’ll fill the space. But for this, you just need to slow your words down, slightly, and let the silence in at poignant moments.
The second exercise that you can do, and you can do this at home, you can do this any time, but I urge you to really push yourself, is to…
Practice slowing down
So, let’s talk about it on a scale. Let’s say that your speed, if you’re speaking on the radio, should be about a five, so you’re speaking at a really nice pace.
When you hear the terms and conditions guy at the end of a radio advert, or even a podcast pre-roll, and that’s speaking this really quickly, that’s 10. Most of us probably speak about a 7 or an 8 when we’re with our friends, or we’re chatting away.
So, you’re aiming for a 5. But five can be a really difficult place to find. And it can feel really uncomfortable when you first start doing it, as with all things. So, what I do with my clients, is I get you to extend your vowels, and really slow down to about a 1 or a 2.
So, for example, let’s get some tips out of the book. Okay, so the sentence is: When you understand this point, a whole world of topics opens up for you. With enough research, you can become an expert on any topic.
So, then I would ask you to slow right down. So, you go: When you understand this point, a whole world of topics opens up for you. And then, I would say, “Slower.” And I think I can go slower.
It’s a really great exercise. And I work with my clients, and I just keep saying, “Slower,” until I get to the point where there’s a little giggle and I know that they’re really uncomfortable. And then, what happens is, you go back to asking them to read the sentence and it goes to normal, a good pace.
You suddenly feel more comfortable because you stretched yourself into being really uncomfortable; you’re now more comfortable speaking slightly slower. So, if you’re having trouble with pace, two things:
Add some pauses, get some space into what you’re saying; and
Practice that exercise where you are really slowing down the words, so you feel really uncomfortable, so when you go back to speaking normally, it doesn’t feel as uncomfortable to speak this pace of 5.
So, you’ve go to find your 5, and then you can move forward from there.
Well, I hope that’s been of use. I hope that’s been helpful for you. If you want more tips and techniques on how to be a better presenter, whether that be on the radio, or podcasting, or even on stage, then you can go to thepresentercoach.co.uk/radio, where you’ll find my online training course for radio presenters and can get the first module, completely for free, if you sign up.
So as a bit of background for you: I am hugely passionate about helping people to be more assertive and to tell their stories so that they can advance their business, career or just improve their life. I set up The Presenter Coach in 2016, after leaving a full time job (I burnt out). Having had experience working freelance, and running a similar business with a good friend previously, I knew I wanted to go alone. My family life required me to be able to choose what I did, and when I did it – as did my mental health!
There are 2 things that help you build your business or career:
Be good at what you do
Tell people about it
I specialise in helping people with the second part (unless you are a radio or tv presenter in which case I help you with both parts). Most people reach a point in their business growth or career where they have to stand in front of people and speak. Whether that be pitching, speaking at conferences or just getting better at interviews.
My aim with The Presenter Coach was that I wanted people to feel like they were being heard. Even today, I want people to see or hear you speak in public (on stage, on air, on screen) and think: “I want to work with you”.
The current structure of my work looks like this:
I coach a lot of 1-2-1 clients: radio & tv presenters, & business owners looking to get better at speaking online and on stage. I run training courses in public speaking, I run networking and storytelling workshops, and I have created an online radio presenter course.
How do you run Your Biz Your Way?
Analogy time: When I go climbing I like to climb without a harness. I love the freedom, the rush, the risk, and you’ll find me up as high as my strength will take me (plus a bit more – I like a challenge)
The minute I have a harness on the terror sets in. I feel restrained and that something terrible is going to happen. I won’t feel confident climbing so high, and I also have to rely on the person below to catch me if I fall.
Running my own business is just like climbing harness-free. I’m not restricted by convention (although I like to learn from it). I experiment, I learn from my mistakes, and I answer to my clients – no one else.
I ensure that I play to my strengths and passions. I value helping people, personal growth and my family. My strengths are being organised, enthusiasm, coaching, learning, creativity and constructing content. I enjoy serving clients, and constantly finding new ways to improve their experience.
What do you do differently in your work that illustrates running Your Biz Your Way? Why did you make up your mind to do it like that?
I made up my mind to ensure that my work and life were equally fulfilling. I don’t think of organising my time to show “work/life balance” I think of all of it as “life”. This means I use traditionally “work skills” in family life: my kids are constantly coached! Equally I value “life skills” in my work: if I am not feeling enjoyment or challenged from something I scrap it.
When I worked in my full time work, I found that I never had time to “sharpen my tools”. I love learning, and I find that everything I learn pumps it’s way back in to the service I provide and in turn my profit. So I now mark time in my week for learning. I read, do online courses, listen to podcasts – all in the bid that the next coaching session with my next client will be better for it.
I also have a rule: if I get asked to do something that terrifies me, I say yes.
How do you go against the grain or against the received wisdom in ways which make you happier in yourself, more productive and more abundant in your biz?
I am regularly looking for unique ways of doing things. My public speaking course is spread over 6 weekly sessions, rather than being delivered in one day. It is designed to highlight the need for rehearsal.
I used to think that to be successful I had to work every minute available, and I would sacrifice my health for it. This was a received wisdom, from watching leaders email at 11 at night, or the online business world revealing being up till the early hours of the morning. There is a time for working in this way, but over a period of time it always ends in one way: burn out. As a result I now make time for my fitness and sleep.
There is one thing I have done though, that people seem to identify as controversial:
When I was in my 20s I read an article about motherhood in different decades. The woman that had become a mother in her 40s said that “rather than get someone else to look after your kids, get someone to do the jobs that mean you have the time to be with your kids”.
Knowing that time with my family fulfils me the mos, I took heed of that article. I now employ someone who comes to my house 4 evenings a week to do the laundry, load the dishwasher, and set the house back to normal. We have quality family time as a result and I am more productive in my business.
I love climbing this business world without the harness. I love taking strategic steps, seeing if they work and then manoeuvring to be better. Finding my support network has been vital and finding one that works for me, revolutionary. Mostly, being the best mum I can be is at the centre of everything I do: giving love, being supportive and being a role model for them. This means making sure I am fulfilled and healthy is priority number 1. My biz my way is the way that I can achieve this.
Hi, Kate Cocker here and here’s the next in-depth Radio Presenter Tip “Mic Technique”.
Which Way Round Is It?
How Far Away?
How To Avoid The Dreaded Pop!
Please feel free to like, comment or ask questions AND please share this post with someone you know who is in radio, runs a great podcast or broadcasts online. To check out Module 1 of my new “Better Radio Presenter” Course 100% free of charge,visit http://ThePresenterCoach.co.uk/radio
Click the play button to watch the video below.
Hi, my name’s Kate, I’m The Presenter Coach. And I just wanted to do a little bit with you about how to get some good mic technique going.
So here’s the microphone, hi microphone, hi. And I’m always really surprised that people don’t really understand where to talk into these microphones ’cause this is what you normally have in a radio studio.
Sometimes they are up the other way, and they’re like, so. But what you’re looking for, if you tug this down, there is often a logo at the top of the microphone, and that is where you wanna be speaking into. So you’re always talking into this part of the microphone, not like this unless it is an absolutely directional mic in that way. So you’re talking into it like this, good old king’s speech, if you watched The King’s Speech, he does this. It’s always good to have a good distance from it.
Now if you’re too close to the microphone, you are gonna lose the texture in your voice, and you’re gonna really go ‘th th th th th th’ as you do it. I worked with a presenter once, and she was really good vocally, and I couldn’t quite work out what it was that,.. Meaning that actually she sounded a little bit flat, and we realized she was just far too close to the mic. So if you come back, you’ll be able to get your vocal range and tone.
Obviously, if you need to shout, really lean back! And if you wanna go really intimate, you can actually go really close, but make sure you go quiet again.
Now the number one problem that people struggle with is popping of the mic which is when you get that sound ’cause there’s too much air coming out of your mouth and to the mic. And even with one of these lovely pop shields, you don’t always get the results that you want.
So one thing to do if you’re finding that you are popping loads, and you can’t control it, and it’s really annoying in your headphones, you can move away from the mic a bit ’cause that will stop the air rushing at the mic, but the one thing you could do is talk across it slightly, so that when your air is coming out of your mouth, it’s going straight across and not directly into the mic, and that will really help with reducing that popping.
And that’ll help if you’re doing podcasts with a little mic on the table, and you’re finding that you’re popping loads. Just move the airflow away from the mic slightly, but don’t turn your head away obviously because then you’ll just lose all the power of the sound of your voice.
Audible has launched the long awaited “Audible Shows”, with a pleasingly small raft of programmes for you to try out – but what first?
“Audible Shows” is Audible’s move in to the podcasting arena, and it has finally launched in the UK. The audio book behemouth, now offers short form audio programmes in various formats and on varied topics. They have commissioned new original shows, as well as provide a platform for some others. And in a podcasting space where the choice is overwhelming, Audible will provide some curation for their audio loving audience, to discover new and relevant audio.
In early 2017, I was lucky enough to be part of the focus group for what was then named “Audible Channels” in it’s beta state. The interface I saw then, compared to the interface I loaded on to my Audible app now, is massively improved. “Audible Channels” was overwhelming – but the content largely was good. “Audible Shows”, has started small (pleasingly so), and you are able to download the shows to your device as part of your Audible library. Even so – there are choices to be made and you will likely be drawn to the big hitters: Joe (Wicks) and Mo (Farah), David Mitchell and Danny Wallace are all there.
So here are my heads up on an alternative top 3:
What Goes On Here with Sam Walker
Sam Walker (BBC Radio 5 Live) has had this long in the waiting. The first season of her podcast “What Goes On Here” is on Apple Podcasts, but when you find her show on Audible Shows there are 4 seasons’ worth. Walker interviews people who have experienced adversity and how they have overcome it for the better. Adversity for her interviewees has come in its wildest forms: drug addiction, incarceration, failing to perform at the Olympics, losing a child are just examples. The key to this series is to hear how each person learned, changed and grew from that moment in their life. It’s heart warming, inspirational and heart breaking all at once.
Sam is a fantastic interviewer, well researched, warm and will ask that question on the tip of your tongue. Well worth a listen.
Sue Perkins presents Zoopedia
Sue Perkins presents shortform (like, 11 minutes shortform) pieces revealing the weird and wonderful things about weird and wonderful animals. This one was a hit with my kids (although you might want to listen first before you play to yours – there is some saucy language/references from time to time).
Sue’s witty narration about the animal in question, be it a Duck Billed Platypus or a Pink Fairy Armadillo, is interspersed with comedy sketches that bring the whole thing to life. Perkins is excellent. The sketches are funny. And you’ll walk away with a knowledge of animals you did not expect. If nothing else it gives me real pleasure to listen to something with my kids, to hear them laughing in the back of the car, and asking for the “Bee one” again and again and again.
Six Degrees of Assasination
One thing I really love about Audible Shows is the audio dramas that are available. I was a big fan of the We’re Alive podcast (now finished) but since then have found it hard to commit to another audio drama – and to know where to find them! Audible Shows will set a bar on quality and for this reason it was easier to commit to Six Degrees.
The whole thing begins with the Prime Minister getting shot at a public engagement and then you follow 2 MI5 agents (played by Freema Agyman and Andrew Scott) solve the case, and they open up a can of worms in the process. I always find audio dramas need a bit of time to get your ear in – this is no different – but once in it’s gripping!
Those three will keep you going for the next few weeks, as Audible builds the content in their app. Based on what I saw in the focus group for Audible Channels in the UK, there are more shows coming to Audible Shows (watch out for “Days That Changed The World” and Naomi Alderman’s “Zombies Run! – The Way of All Flesh”.)
For now I have lined up two that look right up my street: “Where Should We Begin with Esther Perel” and “What Were You Thinking?”. I go to them knowing that the quality will be high, and the storytelling strong – all to fit the Audible brand.
Why has everyone suddenly gone podcast mad? Business leaders, thought leaders, radio presenters, tv stars are all getting on the audio train lately. Feeling like you might be too late to start yours? Don’t.
Here’s why you should consider it:
1. Podcasts are really easy (and cheap) to make
Not only is the equipment super cheap, it’s easier to edit out mistakes, and you don’t have to put your make up on or do your hair before you press record. Podcast wear = whatever your think is appropriate, and that may be your pyjamas.
And as a quick overview:
You need 3 pieces of equipment for podcasting: 1) a microphone 2) an audio recorder 3) an audio editor
If you work in radio or media production, you probably have access to these already, but all can be found for under £100 each. You can even record you speaking on applications like zoom.us (free) and edit on something like iMovie. Plus that phone in the palm of your hand has a load of audio recording/editing capacity.
Then you need a host to put the audio on to, check audioboom, libsyn, soundcloud, Acast
And then you need a platform to broadcast from: Apple Podcasts, Acast, podbean (see point 3)
2. You’ll Find Your Voice
When you are working on behalf of a company, you have to adhere to brand image, editorial policies and formats. This can get in the way of you finding your true voice and being able to express what you care about.
With a podcast you really get the opportunity to put your passions and interests first. Give people the chance to get to know you and your values. It feeds your other work as well by encouraging you to form stories and communicate succinctly. If you do a weekly podcast, it will improve your day to day communication.
3. Apple Have Upped Their Game
It’s been a long time coming but Apple are about to release analytics to podcasters. The newly titled “Apple Podcasts” is the main platform for podcast listening and up until now, they’ve kept the analytics hidden from podcast creators. If you’re a creator, you’re going to be able to see just how people listen to your audio, whether they listen to the end, skip bits or tune out.
This data means that we can only start to improve, and if you are starting now, it gives you an efficient feedback loopmaking it efficient for you to improve.
4. You’ll Reach Your Audience & Create A Meaningful Connection
It’s fine to treat your audience to your vlog, but if you want to get content right through into the hearts and minds of your audience, listening is where it’s at.
Well produced audio has a habit of seeping in to the brain in a way that visual can’t. Let’s face it, your listeners are busy people, they can’t stop to watch you all the time they have things to do. But they can listen to you while they have things to do.
I have been working in radio for the last 20 years and have helped people produce podcasts, consutled and done a lot of listening. It’s time for me to start too, watch this space.
Ever delivered a talk or a workshop and things go awry? My best “awry moment” to date was delivering a workshop at Social Chain in Manchester. The CEO’s dog, Pablo (in pic), decided to start licking my leg. Even when staff got him away from me, he would sidle back and start again. (it wasn’t that gross I promise!)
It proved yet again that nothing can be lost from taking the time to rehearse. The process of practice has so many benefits.
1) You Get Confident With Your Content
Making sure the first time you say something in a meeting, pitch or speech is not the first time you say it out loud, will save you from so many mistakes. Rehearsal allows the muscles in your face to get used to the words, and it trains your brain to start sorting your points in the right order. You are less likely to stutter, say something you didn’t mean to, or get over zealous.
Tip: say it out loud in the car on the way to the meeting or in the shower that morning at least.
2) You Can Make Your Talk Succinct
Practice means you can give your points brevity. The “Rehearse/Edit” process allows you to hear when you are waffling, or when you get boring.
Tip: film yourself and watch it back the next day. You will be able to see immediately if you are saying too many words that have no impact
3) You Won’t Miss A Trick
Confident speakers will tell you they don’t have to rehearse. They know what they are talking about and they can get up and do it. Except these are the guys that when they reflect, think of the great idea that could’ve made their talk better. At least one run through means you get the best out of your content.
Tip: If you’ve not had the idea while running through your talk, film yourself and watch it back. Just like you will see what needed to have been taken away, you’ll also notice what you can add.
4) You Can Cope With A Dog Licking Your Legs
(or your kids walking in in the background, or any unexpected event)
Madonna is renowned for making her dancers rehearse so much so that if something goes wrong (like a cloak no being removed properly) all they have to think about is what’s going wrong, not their moves. Same goes here.
Tip: if you want to get your talk completely memorised you should repeat repeat repeat until you can do something else (like cooking or tapping a rhythm) while saying it out loud.
Pablo. One of the dogs allowed to roam in the offices at Social Chain (and he happens to be the CEOs)
Pablo the dog decided that my legs tasted great, once he started licking, he could not stop. When I moved: he followed, when the staff removed him: he returned, in the end I spent the last 5 minutes of the workshop carrying him in my arms. The work I’d put in to rehearsing the content meant I wasn’t thrown: I was able to incorporate the dog and deliver the workshop.
Preparing a speech is hard. It takes time and you deserve to give it the time. But I know, I understand: There can be so much information to get across. There can be loads you actually want to talk about. There can be nothing that springs to mind. And usually you get to the point where you think… “I’ll just deliver the info, no one needs or wants anything more than that…”
It’s time to change the way you think about speaking in public.
From now on think about speaking in public as….
Talking about what you care about
Conversing with a friend
How… put what you want to achieve, why its important to you and how you got there in to your prep.
Here are the questions I ask my speaking clients before we even begin…
What is the purpose of your talk?
Who is the audience and what will they be expecting from you? Where are you?
What one thing do you want the audience to understand from your talk?
What is your connection to the topic? eg What made you proud? What made you laugh? What do you obsess about? What made you sad / frustrated? (the emotions go on and on)
How do you want the audience to think/feel about you when you have finished?
The answers here lay the foundation to how you build a great talk, and a great connection with your audience. You’ll find the stories to tell, and the connections to find.
“I’m not funny…” is the number one reason I hear for people trying to avoid standing in front of people and speaking. “I mean I can be funny when I’m with my friends, but I’m not funny on stage…”
There is no doubt about it, being funny is a great tool to connect with people and create a light uplifting enjoyable talk. But… the good news is you don’t have to “be funny”, to “be funny” for your audience.
You see, being funny is never where you start from. Being honest, telling your stories and creating a connection is where you start from. this is the key to engaging an audience. If it’s there, funny comes later.
Interestingly when I coached four of the presenters for the Next Radio Conference in September, only ONE of them stood out as being naturally funny, but ALL FOUR presentations had people laughing.
By using me as a coach for their talks, my clients are able to find the funny lines if they exist. More often than not the jokes appear like bubbles rising to the top once the speech is discussed, designed, written and rehearsed. I’m gonna stick my neck out and say: 90% of making someone laugh is in the delivery of a line. And the reaction of laughter, doesn’t come because you told a joke, it’s a reaction of surprise and familiarity in a story you told.
So rest assured, the pressure of being funny is felt by everyone, being funny isn’t the key to creating an engaging talk, and you will only know if there is funny in your talk once you’ve written it. Use a trusted friend, associate or coach to help you hear what it is you are trying to say, and if the funny stands out they’ll be able to find it for you.