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10 Bad Habits to Break to Take Your Show to the Next Level

Today, we’re talking about bad habits…and I don’t mean that catchy tune by the musical maestro who is Ed Sheeran.

No. Today, we’re talking about some podcasting bad habits that should be left behind as we move into another year.

But I don’t have any bad habits…

The problem with bad habits is often, we don’t actually know we have them…until they’re pointed out to us. Either by a close friend, a motivational speaker, or sometimes, unfortunately in the case of podcast hosting, by our critics…

And look, having someone point out our flaws is very rarely fun. We totally understand that! But at the end of the day, we want to help your podcast soar to the highest of heights and we want you to reach your full potential as a podcast host. And while, most of the time, we can do that through positive “how-to” or “10 tips for” style posts, sometimes a little tough love is what is needed.

And, in this case, it requires a little acceptance of the fact that you may have developed some bad podcasting habits that could be hindering your show’s success.

All is not lost…

The great news is that bad habits can be dropped like, well, a bad habit! And this post is here to help you do just that. We’re sharing the 10 most common bad habits we see podcast hosts struggle with.

Use these to evaluate yourself and your podcast, and you can then make the necessary adjustments to redirect your podcast on the path marked, “Success”!

1. Using too Many Filler Words

“Um, like, what do you, like, mean, when you, uh, say, ‘Filler words’?” That. I mean that.

Filler words creep into our everyday speech without us even realizing it. And when we’re chatting to our friends in casual conversation, these filler words don’t seem to be as noticeable, and they’re certainly not enough reason to end a conversation! But when it comes to your podcast, filler words can be a major turnoff! Literally.

Are you guilty of too many filler words? Take a listen to your last couple of episodes and really pay attention to your speech habits. If you notice there are just too many “uhms”, “aahs”, and “likes” making an appearance on your show, if you want to hold on to your audience, it’s time to get a little more heavy-handed with your editing.

*Pro tip: Spending a bit more time scripting your episodes may help eliminate those pesky filler words. A script can help you know what to say and when, so you’re not filling the gaps while you’re thinking about what you want to say next.

2. Not Paying Enough Attention to Sound Quality

If you’re in the (bad) habit of simply setting up your mic, hitting ‘record’, and rolling on with your next episode, you are more than likely not achieving the best quality audio. And that is a fairly large problem.

You may have been able to get away with subpar audio in the past, but I’m here to tell you that likely won’t be the case in the near future! As more and more podcasts launch, listeners are becoming more and more attuned to what a great podcast should sound like. And they’re not going to settle for poor audio quality.

But this bad habit is an easy fix! Just take a little more time in your setup. Plug in a pair of headphones, run a few sound checks, and make the necessary adjustments until what you’re hearing is high-quality raw audio.

3. Not Paying Enough Attention to Your Content

Perhaps your bad habit is the opposite of the above. You may be spending a whole lot of time making sure your audio is pristine, and you’re editing your episodes like a pro, but you’re not really paying attention to the quality of your content. You just kinda ‘wing it’ and hope you get your message across. But this is a big “no-no” and the same explanation as the above applies.

Listeners may be hooked initially on your great-sounding audio, but you won’t be able to reel them in if your content quality is wanting.

The slickest editing skills and a pro setup will never be a substitute for quality content. It’s as simple as that.

But again, with a little extra time put into the planning stage of each episode, this bad habit will be no more.

Related read: The Best Free Resources to Enhance Your Podcasting Skill Set

4. Leaving Tasks to the Last Minute

This is a bad habit that extends way beyond the podcasting industry. Do you find yourself always leaving things to the last minute? And then stressing bucket loads as you rush to get the task completed before the looming deadline? Your bad habit may be procrastination.

And if you’re prone to procrastination, you very likely don’t limit this “skill” to only your podcast. You probably tend to procrastinate in most areas of your life. But if you’re wanting to add ‘podcast host’ to your list of responsibilities, you need to kick procrastination to the curb if you want to make your podcast the best that it can be.

Related read: How You Can Improve Your Time Management: The Ultimate Guide

5. Focusing On Negative Reviews

Ok, let’s be honest. Finding out your podcast received a negative review is never going to be a pleasant experience. It is particularly painful when you’ve put so much into making your podcast the best that it can be. But no matter how hard you try, you simply cannot please everyone all of the time.

And it’s ok to read those negative reviews and feel a little down. But! Do not focus on those bad reviews! Use them as constructive criticism where you can, and then leave them behind!

Focusing on negative reviews is a bad habit because it can keep you from moving forward. If you start doubting yourself, overthinking everything you say, or go into a cold sweat every time you release a new episode for fear of what people may say, everyone loses. You lose the joy your podcast used to bring you and your audience loses out on who you were as an authentic host before all the self-doubt crept in.

So use negative reviews to make your show better, but don’t spend any more time focusing on them than is absolutely necessary.

Related read: So, Your Podcast Got a Negative Review, Now What?

6. Staying in Your Comfort Zone

I once heard a saying that really stuck with me…”A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.” (Author Unknown)

Yes, our comfort zone may feel so cozy and safe. And yes, if we do venture out of that zone, we may fail. And that is scary! But what is scarier is to look back with perspective and wish you tried.

So don’t make staying in your comfort zone a bad habit. Try new things, start that podcast, or push yourself to learn that skill that you’ve been wanting to master. And just see how much you grow!

7. Comparing Yourself to Other Podcast Hosts

It’s one thing to strive to better your show by trying to match podcast hosts you look up to. It’s another thing entirely to beat yourself up when you compare yourself to others.

Constantly comparing yourself to others and always feeling like you’re coming up short will tank your self-esteem, chip away at your self-confidence, and just leave you feeling really down when you think about your show. So don’t do it! Yes, look up to other podcasts, and hold yourself and your show to a high standard, but if you’re giving your podcast your best, that’s enough!

8. Giving In to Imposter Syndrome

Another bad podcasting habit? Giving in to Imposter Syndrome! If you’re constantly thinking you’re not good enough, you doubt your abilities, or feel unworthy of the recognitions and praise you receive, despite all your hard work, you are a sufferer of Imposter Syndrome. But the good news is that you are not alone! Psychologists estimate that around 70% of adults will experience imposterism at least once in their lives.

But don’t give in to the Imposter! Allow yourself to feel proud of what you’ve achieved and the hard work you’ve put in to making your show great! When you’re complimented or receive praise, graciously accept it, and don’t find reasons to play it down or downplay your hard work. This diminishes all the hard work you put in, but it also diminishes the kind gesture someone else was wanting to do for you. So break this bad habit today!

Related read: How To Consistently Conquer Imposter Syndrome

9. Not Making Time for Yourself

Imma gonna keep this one short. If you’re not making time for yourself, then you’re doing it wrong!

Yes, I know, ‘self-care’ may be a buzzword right now. Or worse, it is often used as an excuse to indulge in other bad habits under the guise of ‘self-care’. But that shouldn’t take away from the fact that making time for yourself is really important.

Whether it’s making time to read, meditate, exercise, or schedule in regular catch-ups with friends, we need to make time for the things that recharge, de-stress and rejuvenate our minds, souls, and bodies.

Being “too busy” for the things we enjoy is not a badge of honor. It’s a bad habit that needs to be stopped!

10. Stressing!

I know, I know, this is way easier said than done! And I’d hazard a bet that just saying, “Hey, don’t stress!” has very likely never helped anyone not stress!

In today’s world, it feels like stress is just part of the everyday human experience. And there are plenty of things to stress about! But stress is not good for us! (I know you know this, but it’s a good reminder nonetheless).

Besides making us not feel good (at all!), stress can cause headaches, insomnia, it can wreak havoc with our digestive system, and even weaken our immune systems!

Bottom line? We have to learn to stress less! Check out this post for 20 Super Effective Ways to Kick Stress to the Curb. And by learning to stress less, we’ll have more energy in store for doing all the things we want to do.

Closing Thoughts

Honesty moment…did you find yourself guilty of some of these podcasting bad habits? If you did, and you’re now feeling bad…STOP! Recognizing that you may have some habits that need adjusting is actually a good thing! Because it means you’re a step closer to a better podcast and a step closer to you becoming the best podcast host you can be!

And now that you know the areas that need some work, you can put a plan together to kick your podcasting bad habits to the curb. Because the truth is, bad habits don’t just go away on their own. We very rarely ‘grow out’ of bad habits that we’ve carried with us for a long time. And they usually take a lot of time and effort to undo. But knowing that correcting these podcasting faux pas will help your show achieve even greater success should give you that extra motivation you need to do the hard work to ditch those bad habits.

The result will be a better podcast and a happier audience, and that sounds like a serious win in my book!

Related read: Debunking 10 of the Most Common Podcasting Myths

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