Back in July, I started doing a weekly podcast called All Access Star Trek. My co-host Anthony Pascale and I talk about the latest Star Trek news—there’s a lot of it these days—and review episodes of new Star Trek shows, like Lower Decks and Star Trek: Discovery. Our first few episodes were a little shaky, but we’re recording episode 13 this week and really getting into a groove.
The most difficult part, harder than the prep and the give-and-take as we try not to step on each other while recording, is listening back to it every week after it goes up. It’s a daunting task, but it’s essential to do, because every cringeworthy moment teaches me something that makes my contribution to our podcast better and helps the conversation flow more naturally. The beauty of a weekly podcast? A weekly chance to improve!
But hearing myself speak isn’t just improving the podcast: I’ve learned some valuable lessons I’m now applying in my everyday life as well. Here are some of the truths I’ve uncovered about myself, the way I speak, and how to better communicate with others. Perhaps they’ll help you as well.
I Repeat Myself. A Lot.
It’s one of the hardest habits to break. We live in a world (at least in this country) of people stating their own point of view over & over & over again in the futile hope that it will get through THIS time, and I’m absolutely guilty of it. I’ve even heard myself start with, “Like I said…” Why on earth am I saying something if I’ve already said it? It’s annoying for podcast listeners (and disrespectful of their time), and especially annoying to my kids and husband, who have to live with me every day… and probably to my friends too, but they’re too kind to complain, bless them.
There’s a Question I Should Ask Myself Before I Speak
What does this contribute to the conversation? I’ve already taken this one way beyond podcasting. Maybe I do have a new piece of information that hasn’t come up… but SO WHAT? What does it add? Is it just about showing off something I know, or is it something useful or interesting to other people? And how might it make someone else feel? Is it information they’d be happier without? Filtering is everything.
Don’t Make Statements Sound Like Questions
In our first episode, every single thing I said sounded like a question; my voice rose at the end of each sentence as if I wasn’t quite sure about what I was saying. Terrible habit! I probably do this a lot, and let me tell you, it does not inspire confidence in anyone I’m speaking to. I actually DO know some things, and need to stop presenting them as if I’m unsure when I’m not.
Be a Good Listener
My podcast co-host happens to be both smart and witty, and we have a lot more fun when I’m listening to him and responding than when I’m waiting for the chance to say MY thing. We have much better conversations when we’re paying more attention to each other and not looking at our notes and checking off boxes. We also laugh a lot more, which is important in these dark times.
A transplanted Canadian living in New York, Laurie Ulster is a freelance writer and a TV producer who somehow survived her very confusing adolescence as the lone female Star Trek fan in middle school. She writes about pop culture, lifestyle topics, feminism, food, and other topics for print, digital, podcasts, and TV.