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  • Tom Kelly

11. Your Podcast is a Performance. Start Acting Like It.

There are many hills I'm willing to die on, but one I never feel bad about is that your podcast, my podcasts, everyone's podcast is a performance. Even for those who are "just talking to their buds around a couple cold ones" are still in front of a microphone working a non-zero amount to create a product for someone to potentially listen to. I think accepting the fact that we're all performers is step one to making a significantly better podcasts, for a few reasons.


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It Takes a Lot Of Effort to Appear So Effortless

Not many people can hop on a mic and just rip it up without a ton of prep work. "But Joe Rogan does it" I can already hear you saying... 1) you're not Joe Rogan 2) Joe Rogan has an entire team of folks running his show so he only has to focus on content/interviewing 3) Joe Rogan is a literal professional performer. It took decades to appear as effortless as he does, and there's much more going on behind the scenes than you think... While this is just 1 example, there are many instances that prove producing an "effortless" conversation, it takes a combination of some or all of the following things: tons of experience, a team beside you pulling a lot of the weight, a ton of prep work.

When We Acknowledge We're Performing, We Can Intentionally Get Much Better At It

I single-handedly put out over 1,000 episodes per year, 100+ of them being my own personal shows. Obviously my clients aren't editing their own shows. That's what they're paying me to do. Because of this, some of them have never heard themselves speak, and even after 100+ episodes of their own shows, they're no better speakers (see also: performers) than they were on episode 1. Having edited my own shows every week for over 3.5 years, I've improved on my speaking abilities by leaps and bounds from episode 1 of my first podcast (which has since been wiped from the digital ether because yikes, it's bad!). I can hear myself perform, gently critique myself, and learn from my mistakes to make sure next week is a better show. Being a performer is like any other craft, you have to start somewhere and always build upon your last attempt. But this process of learning and growing takes self evaluation and time to critique your own actions. By just pumping out episodes and never evaluating them, most likely you're doomed to a life of not reaching your fullest potential as a speaker, presenter, and podcaster.

If You Perform With Your Edited Podcast In Mind, the Editing Will Be Faster and Cleaner!

This one takes a bit of practice and may seem a bit confusing, but there's a couple examples in the podcast that may better demonstrate what this section is about. Speaking to a friend casually at a coffee shop and speaking for a podcast are 2 wildly different things. While they may seem the same on the surface, the biggest difference is a podcast has a post production process, while a casual conversation does not. If we are editing a podcast of errors, false starts, and stammers, it's WILDLY helpful to be conscious of how your podcast will be edited, and speak to make that edit sound more natural. For example, if you mess up a phrase, rather than just repeating the last word (which is usually said correctly with a totally different pitch, inflection, and intensity), try to best remember how you said the entire phrase, and say it all over again matching the original tone of the saying. This takes a bunch of practice, and a subconscious "cache" of the last 5 seconds of what you said and how you said it, but once you nail down this unique skill, it will make your edits totally invisible because you intentionally performed for an edited show.

This last skill especially will significantly up the production value of your show, and give your listeners the impression that your podcast is totally effortless, unedited, and just a raw and perfectly flowing conversation between 2 people who are stoked to share all the information in their beautiful brains.

Trust me, just listen to the episode. I believe I performed and explained it all pretty well in there!

Hit me up on Twitter and let me know if you agree or disagree that all podcasts are a performance!


My Signal Chain


Audio Interface: Apogee Ensemble

Microphone: Shure SM7b

Studio Monitors: Yamaha HS7


IzoTope RX6 De-Mouth Click

IzoTope RX6 Voice De-Noise

FabFilter ProQ3

Waves LA2A

Waves Vocal Rider

Waves L2 Limiter

Waves WLM Meter

Waves Durrough Meter

*most of these links are affiliate links

Closing Song:

Road Trip by Joakim Karud

For more info, or to ask any questions, check out my website and reach out to




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