When was the last time you addressed a crowd of people? Or, for that matter, when was the last time you were in the middle of a crowd at a sporting event, concert or a rally?
If your answer is not that often then read on my fellow writer, because the one skill we need to develop is our ability to present ourselves visually and audibly. By the end of January, I will have conducted my third podcast interview and/or panel and well? Third time’s a charm?
The first podcast interview I did was to talk about a setting and game I had been designing at the time. When I say that I could have put your grandmother to sleep I’m being kind. You see, I wasn’t really sure what the best thing was to communicate, so I threw everything out there. Writing promotional material is one thousand times different than speaking it, because you have the chance to read, review and edit what you’re working on. In an interview, you may not have the questions beforehand so it’s even more difficult to think off-the-cuff.
I just finished my second interview today. Although we started out well, we had some technical difficulties which caused me to wander a little bit, wondering if the line was going to cut out on me. This interview was different than the first because in this one — I babbled excitedly. In this case, I was trying to think in layers — these questions were my opinion, but they were also something that I was very passionate about. (i.e. roles of gender in gaming, fantasy tropes, etc.) So instead of being precise and using that word conservation I’m always advocating, I feel as if I babbled incoherently because I couldn’t think fast enough to contain my answers.
Well, I have a third one coming up at the end of the month. I know the topic in advance, and I’m planning on providing links and examples. Having listened to other episodes, I can expect that this show will have very organic, back-and-forth conversation.
The lesson I’ve learned here is: audio interviews and podcasts are harder to prepare for than face-to-face pre-scheduled meetings, panels or speeches. You have to think on your feet and sometimes go beyond the bullet points you’ve written down, and it’s harder to gauge visual cues when there aren’t any to glean. As I continue to move forward with writing I will (no doubt) have more experiences related to podcasting and audio; this medium is something I’m brand new to and I feel as if I’m not very good at it.
When you’re a writer, it is extremely hard to break away from your projects and get that invaluable face-to-face time to ensure you’re staying on top of your verbal communication skills. These skills are part and parcel to representing yourself as a writer, so practice right along with me and let’s ensure that our speaking engagements match our excellent ability to write!
Here are some great articles I’ve found on the topic of improving your communication skills. If you have links, post them in the comments!
Resources if You’re the one Being Interviewed
- Tips on Being Interviewed
- Improving Verbal Communication – Great Communicators
- Panel Interview Tips
- Tips for Being Interviewed on the Radio
- Improving your Business Communication