Conversational Sports Talk: 4 Tips for Sounding Natural On Air

Recently, I listed to the first demo tape I ever made. I was a sophomore at the Princeton of the Plains, Kansas State University. The cassette (yep – cassette) included mostly sportscasts and live reports from K-State football games for various radio stations around the conference.

As I listened, I blushed with embarrassment. I was bad. The sportscasts sounded scripted and rehearsed because . . . well, they were scripted and rehearsed. Yikes.

If you want to sound natural and conversational instead of stilted and rehearsed, these tips are for you!

1. Avoid a radio voice

You should sound the same on-air as off. Many times when people change their voice to sound more professional on the mike, they end up sounding like a caricature of a broadcaster.

Talk like you. If you’re not sure what your conversational voice sounds like, record yourself in a phone conversation. Study it and strive to be that comfortable when you’re on the air.

2. Use natural word choices

Don’t try to sound smarter or more formal just because you’re on the air. Avoid unnatural vocabulary. For example, you are unlikely to tell a friend that one team defeated another. Instead you would say they beat them, ripped them or smoked them.

Don’t use unnatural vocabulary.

3. Pre-read your script

Read sportscasts or scripted sports talk monologues out loud to yourself, then make edits where the words don’t feel or sound natural.

4. Listen to yourself

When you are on the air, don’t talk without listening to what you are saying. Often times, you will open the door for yourself to make a funny quip or otherwise deviate from your script or train of thought.

Spontaneity makes you sound conversational.

When you finish the spontaneous comment, return to the script. It’s like being on the freeway. You can get off here and there. Just be sure to get back on so you eventually reach your destination.

Please excuse me now. I’m going to go crush my old demo cassettes.