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🎧Podcast Editing MISTAKES to AVOID 🚧

Have you ever read the transcript of a conversation? Not the edited content, but the raw, unedited version? If so, you know it looks like a hot mess. If not, let me show you a short example from my interview with Adriana Tica which was published on Wednesday, 12/13/2023. I am pasting this directly from the transcript file with the time stamp included.

Eric (11:19.634) Oh, no. And I appreciate that distinction because sometimes we get, we get so caught up in, and I say this as someone who is guilty of it, get so caught up in, how can I help people to learn how to do this particular task that, that I forget that, hey, some people just want it done, right? They just want to, here's my money. Please make the problem go away.

You would swear up and down nobody talks that way, and that somebody must have messed with the transcript. In fact, that is word for word what I said at that point in the conversation. Filler words are a normal part of conversation, along with stutters and stammers, sentence fragments and repetitions. Lets look at a few examples and why we should leave them in podcast episodes.

Ums, Ahs, and Pauses

We add filler words during our conversations without realizing it. We rarely notice when others do it or when we do it ourselves. It is simply part of our normal speech patterns.

It is noticeable in what we think of as professionally produced movies or audiobooks.

Think about it. When you watch a movie or a show on Hulu or Netflix, all of the dialogue is smooth. No stutters, no stammers, no blemishes. This means they don't speak anything at all like real life. 🤣 Same for audio books. When you listen to an audio book, it is read word-for-word with no hesitancy or issue. It sounds nothing like regular human speech.

The one other place filler words are noticeable is when you listen to your own voice on a recording. It sounds like fingernails scraped across a chalkboard in its glaring obviousness, at least to the person whose voice is on the recording. To the rest of us, we don't notice it at all. Same with pauses.

Keep, Don't Cut

I recommend not removing the ums and ahs and pauses. Yes, much of the marketing world disagrees with me and that's okay. I stand by this and here's why. A podcast is the closest thing to an intimate conversation you can have without being present. Over-editing makes it sound plasticky and fake because we know inherently what real conversation sounds like. Over-editing moves us out of the conversation and into the realm of watching a performance.

You probably don't even notice the ums and ahs in podcasts you listen to today. Don't believe me? Whatever podcast episode you listen to next, pause and listen for filler words. There are filler words in the recording. The moment you quit listening for them, they evaporate into the ether and become unnoticeable.


Are there exceptions? Yes. If someone has a bit of a nervous response and uses a filler word constantly, then it is worth removing a few of them from the recording. Try to remove the instances that are easiest to edit cleanly without making it sound choppy. If there is a pause for 20 seconds, it might be worth shortening it a bit. In each instance, make sure that emphasis is not lost in the process.

Now What?

We are our own worst enemy and critic. I encourage clients that if they plan to host a podcast or guest on a podcast, they will need to become comfortable listening to their own voice. This is true even if someone else will edit their podcast.

Actually, it is even more important to understand this if someone else edits your podcast because you will never be satisfied with the edit. You will repeatedly tell your editor to take out all of the hesitations and ums because in your estimation, you sound bad. The reality is the opposite. Taking all of it out will make you sound bad.


Till next time!

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