Women In Podcasting - Thoughts after speaking at 2021 Sorted

This week I’ve been having the best time at Janet Murray’s 2021 Sorted event planning my business for next year - which means planning my podcast topics for next year too. I think I’ve got the first twelve nailed. Which is exciting. No sneaky peaks.

But the highlight for me was being asked to lead the Women In Podcasting panel on Wednesday.

Myself, Ant McGinley, Anna Parker-Naples and Avni Gohill were on the panel giving advice and thoughts.

Ant spoke about tech - we have similar views on tech, you can absolutely record on your phone so don’t worry about spending all the money!

Anna talked about how podcasting brings you impact and visibility

And Avni spoke about her experience of starting a podcast just a couple of months ago without spending a lot of money.

I focused on the one question that I get asked the most and the top hang up that people come to me about.

If you’re a long term listener you can probably guess the question - yes it’s how long should my podcast be?

You probably already know the answer too - “As long as it is interesting!”

I know it’s deeply unsatisfying as an answer but it really is true.

And the way to make it interesting is to nail the planning. Understand why you are doing your podcast, what success looks like for you and exactly who you are talking to.

I’ve covered planning in episodes 29 through to 32 and if you want more planning fun in your life my podcast planning toolkit is on PRE SALE and I’ll pop a link in the show notes or just drop me a message on social media and I’ll send you the link that way.

So now to the hang up that I get asked about a lot.

And I hate saying that this is mainly an issue or concern that women talk about but it is mainly women who say this to me. “I hate the sound of my voice”

It’s not uncommon as a problem. In fact it’s so not uncommon it has a name. It’s called voice confrontation.

And I totally get it. The first time you hear a recording of yourself it can sound as though it’s a stranger talking to you.

It’s because you hear yourself differently to how other people hear you.

Ready for some science - well when you talk the sound comes to you via a mixture of bone conduction and sound waves.

When your voice travels through the bones it naturally lowers and deepens the sound you hear (all to do with the vibrations).

So the voice you hear in your head is all low, husky and sexy.

When other people hear you speak your voice is only travelling as sound waves. Without the bone conduction it naturally sounds higher and sometimes a little thinner.

It’s such an odd feeling hearing yourself - and it can feel unnerving and even a little disheartening.

Please don’t get upset by your voice. It is your voice so it is special and utterly unique.

I know you are thinking it’s easy for you to say this - you’ve been doing this for 20 years. And of course it does get easier listening to yourself when you do it on a regular basis.

But there are some tips for you to learn to love your voice.

Firstly - get used to listening to yourself. From this time on you no longer have a pen and paper to write down notes, lists and reminders. No. You are using your voice memo app on your phone.

Make recording and listening to yourself a normal part of everyday life. Not just a once a week recording your podcast thing.

The more you do this the more used to your voice you become and the different way it sounds to how you expect it to sound eases off.

Secondly make sure you are relaxed when you are recording. Shake your arms and legs so your body isn’t tense.

The more tense you are - the tighter your throat and vocal cords will be. And tight throat and vocal cords equal thin, squeaky voice. Smile too - it relaxes your face.

Slow down when you talk. The faster you talk the higher in pitch you tend to get. Take some deep breaths before you begin recording.

Make notes but don’t read a script word for word. Unless you are a skilled voice actor it really will sound as though you are reading word for word. And it tends to be dull and monotone - and hard to listen to (for you and your audience.)

My favourite thing to do when I’m struggling to relax in my podcast recordings is to grab my dragon and my troll and talk to them.

No I’ve not lost the plot completely. The dragon is the soft toy version of the dragon from the John Lewis advert last year and the troll is a 30 year old troll doll my mum gave me when I was a child.

But importantly they have faces. And I talk to them. They are my podcast audience. In fact I am recording this episode in front of them now.

It makes me feel less awkward talking to myself and it’s hard not to smile at this audience.

So they were my tips for the Women in Podcasting Session.

We then went into breakout rooms to talk about how we can make podcasting less of a white male thing.

Now this is an interesting point and the general feeling was there are lots of women with podcasts and lots of us chatting actually listened to a lot of women led podcasts. But the fact is the charts are dominated by white men.

In fact if I scan the podcast charts now - the top ten on Apple, so the first ones you see are podcasts made up of at least 50% white men.

So what can we do? Well if you are a woman and you have a podcast, you need to shout loudly at every opportunity that you have a podcast. And I mean every opportunity. Be “that” person.

But make it useful so take quotes from your podcast for social media and point people to your podcast. Make audiograms for your episodes and share them. Not just once. Not twice, but all the time.

Email your list. And when you meet people or new connections who want to know more about you - as well as pointing them to your website, point them to your podcast.

And I am guilty of not doing this enough. Yes I’m not following my own advice.

But the simple truth is if nobody knows you have a podcast you are not going to get heard as much. And without getting heard you are going to struggle to get anywhere near those charts.

And men and women, take time out of your day or week to find a new podcast hosted by a woman. And if you like it subscribe, rate and review. And tell others about the podcast.

Starting Tuesday 10th November 2020 I am going to share a podcast by a woman (or women) that I have enjoyed every week. If you want to be the first to know which podcast I’ve got my ears around then sign up to my email list -

Or you can follow me on social media -

Instagram - Charlotte Foster Podcasts

Facebook - Charlotte Foster Podcasts

Twitter - @CFPodcasts

LinkedIn -

Oh and if you’re thinking, “I really wish I’d been at #2021Sorted - you still can. The replays are being put up as I type and you’ll get all the content planning expertise to see you right for 2021 - including support along the way. You can buy a ticket here (it is an affiliate link but I don’t recommend things I don’t use or adore myself)

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