Being a Radio host can be challenging in many ways. Communicating with an audience that you can’t see, for instance, takes preparation and dedication.

We’ve heard time and time again that verbal communication depends not only on what you say, but how you say it. Here are some tips and techniques to help you master your radio voice for your live broadcasts.

Warm Up

Your voice is a muscle, which means that it needs to be warmed up properly before being used. This not only allows you to loosen your vocal muscles, but also reduces the risk of injury and voice loss.

It’s also important to warm up your face muscles, including your jaw, lips and tongue in order to help with speech and articulation. 

Vocal Warm Up: 

Hum on one note for one breath out, feeling the resonance vibrate. Extend the hum to sliding up and down a scale without strain. Repeat multiple times.

Facial Warm Up: 

  • Place your palms on the sides of your face and slowly massage the jaw and cheek muscles with slow small circular motions
  • Continue to massage while lowering and raising your jaw
  • Add the sound – “mamamama” with a very light lip contact for the “m”
  • Change to “wawawawa” with very light lip round for a slightly distorted “w”

Know your subject

It’s no secret, the key to successful oration is preparation! When you are comfortable with the subject at hand, you’ll find it easier to speak fluidly and naturally.

Avoid writing down your whole script and reading it, as your voice may come off as monotonous and listeners may find that your voice lacks spontaneity. 

Take the time to practice discussing the subject freely by yourself, repeat the main points you want to bring up during your show so that you’re comfortable repeating them when you’re broadcasting live. You can also prepare a piece of paper with key words to make sure you don’t forget anything important! 

Posture and Breathing

It seems pretty basic, but don’t forget to breathe!

Both posture and breathing are important. It’s physiological, sitting straight helps the air circulate. In order for your voice to reverberate, straighten your back and your abs all whilst avoiding pushing your chin forward.

For a strong vocal performance, it’s recommended to use ventral diaphragmatic breathing.

Exercise:

Breathe in through your nose for 2 seconds and feel the air moving through your nostrils into your abdomen, making your stomach expand. During this type of breathing, make sure your stomach is moving outward while your chest remains relatively still. Press gently on your stomach and exhale slowly for around 2 seconds. Repeat this several times before starting your live broadcast! 

Stay Hydrated

When speaking for long periods of time, we can quickly become dehydrated. This also affects the speed and tone of your voice. Mucus protects these vocal cords, and staying hydrated ensures that everything is working properly. If you are dehydrated, your vocal fold tissues may become dry and even permanently injured.

Keep a glass of water close by and take regular sips to keep your mouth and throat from going dry. This will also allow you to take a small break and refocus yourself before speaking again! 

Listen to yourself

It’s a known fact that hearing your own voice can make you cringe, however listening to yourself is the best way to know what you’re doing right, and what you may be doing wrong. Put yourself in your listeners shoes by recording a test run and listening to yourself.

It’s also a great way to see if we have a tendency to repeat certain words or sounds (ermmmm, hmmmm…) so that you can try and minimise them when speaking live. 

Find your rhythm

Communicating with people that we cannot see can be difficult as 93% of our daily communication is non-verbal (through gestures and body language). It’s important that you speak slowly and clearly to make sure that your audience understands what you are saying.

Here are a few reminders:

  • Emphasise certain words in order to avoid a monotonous monologue
  • Include short pauses in your show, this not only gives you a few seconds to catch your breath, but also gives your listeners a small break.
  • Don’t speak too fast to ensure you can be understood by all of your listeners

Be confident

No one is perfect, but we tend to be our own worst critics. It’s completely normal to fumble or make mistakes every now and again, but rest assured, most people won’t be able to tell! If you do happen to make a slight mistake, just push through it as though it never happened, chances are no one will even notice!

However, if you spend time worrying about it or letting your audience know that you made a mistake, it will throw you off for the rest of the show.

Smile 

Smile and have fun! Studies show that a smile can be heard, even if you are speaking to someone on the phone for example. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself during your show, chances are your audience will feel the energy in your voice. You know what they say: a smile is contagious! 😀

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