As podcasters, we have the power to create a deep bond with our listeners. However, many of us unknowingly create distance between ourselves and our audience, impeding the creation of a close relationship. Let’s look at how to create a positive connection with your listener and build trust through the power of sound.
There are three elements of trust: positive relationships, expertise, and consistency. We can demonstrate our expertise and consistency by sharing our knowledge and insight each week. However, creating positive relationships with your listeners requires a little more finesse.
A 2021 study published in the Science Communication Journal, titled Good Sound, Good Research: How Audio Quality Influences Perceptions of the Research and Researcher, found that high-quality audio has a significant impact on the perceived content and quality of the information being passed along, as well as the people presenting it. Participants rated identical conference talks and radio interviews in high-quality and low-quality versions, and the numbers were collated based on speaker intelligence and likability, along with the importance of the research being discussed. The study showed that good audio adds credibility and can influence how smart the speaker sounds.
Beyond sounding smart, we aim to build a parasocial relationship with our listeners, a relationship where listeners feel more connected to us than we do to them. This relationship can feel imbalanced, but the goal is to get to a one-to-one conversation and build enough trust so that someone feels comfortable picking up the phone or clicking your Calendly link to book a Zoom chat with you.
How to create a positive connection with your listener
It all starts with the microphone. Microphones come in two types: dynamic and condenser. Dynamic microphones produce a warmer tone and are great at isolating just your voice, while condenser microphones are crisp and clear and pick up lots of the world around them. The type of microphone you have does not matter nearly as much as how close you are to it.
I recommend getting as close to the microphone as possible, using a fist’s distance between your mouth and the pop filter of your mic as a guide. It is essential to catch and reduce plosive sounds like popping Ps or kicking Ks. When you are close to the microphone, the less of the outside world we hear, and the more you can create that lovely little cocoon.
Finally, it is crucial to test your microphone, recording yourself in a few different positions and using an app to record your voice. If the audio starts to sound distorted or crunchy, turn down the gain.
Wrapping it up
While we may be experts in our field, creating a positive connection with our listeners requires more than just knowledge and insight. By ensuring we create high-quality audio, we can build a relationship with our listeners and increase trust. This leads to one-to-one conversations and long-lasting, rewarding partnerships.