Record Yourself and be a Better Public Speaker

Do you read Craig Strachan’s Communication Excellence blog? Craig is a partner of mine from South Africa. Craig just posted that speakers should always have a digital recorder with them. To record your brilliant, or not so brilliant, insights and ideas. And to record yourself, every time you speak.

You may wonder if this is really worth the cost.  I completely believe it is.  I have had a digital recorder for the last several years and have seen my speaking improve because of it.  If you practice recording and listening to yourself, you will hear what you don’t get while you are in front of the audience.  Sometimes we are so into our message that we don’t understand how it is coming across.  So what can you use to record yourself?

How about if I tell you what I use and why.  Then you can make a purchase decision based on those thoughts.

The first digital recorder I bought is the RCA RP5030A digital recorder.  I still use it.  This is a mono digital recorder with a mic and ear jack.  I find the jacks important because I like to plug in a lapel mic to record while I am speaking.

I use the Olympus ME-15 Microphone with my RCA recorder.  It is a simple mono lapel microphone.  With a lapel mic plugged into the recorder, you can run the cord in your jacket and put the recorder in the inside breast pocket.  I have recorded many of my speeches, hosting events, and workshops in this way.  I then go back and listen and figure out what I did right and what needed improvement.

Another digital recorder is the Olympus Digital Voice Recorder WS-300M.  I bought this one when I decided to add stereo recordings to my repertoire.  Stereo recordings would allow me to add depth and location dimensions to my recordings.  If I record myself and listen to it later, I can get a feeling for the audience and where they are.  To my right.  To my left.  It adds dimension to live recordings that can be used in audio products and audio lessons later.

It also has a mic jack for a lapel mic to be used.  But, I found that I needed a stereo mic.  This added a little bit of bulk.  The mic was a little bit bigger, but still not big enough to be distracting. I use the Olympus ME-51S Stereo Microphone.  It also includes an extension cord and lapel clip so you can either plug it directly into the recorder or use it as a lapel mic.

I still have both of these.  I tend to go back and forth with them, depending on my mood.  Both will plug into a USB port on your computer, to transfer the audio recordings off your recorder.  The RCA recorder needs a standard USB to mini-USB cable.  However, the Olympus recorder can plug directly into any available USB port.  See the L-shaped piece at the bottom of the recorder?  It is the battery compartment and it slides off to reveal the USB plug.

Now that you have yourself on a digital recording, what can you do with it?  I like to load the MP3 files onto my MP3 player.  With a car cassette adapter, I can listen to them in my car, during the 1 hour round trip to/from work.

I have the SanDisk Sansa c250 2 GB MP3 Player and the SanDisk Sansa e260 4 GB MP3 Player and have used both as my main MP3 player.  I always have access, not only to my own recordings but also to recordings that I have bought from other public speaking, business, and success coaches.  (see some of the links to the left and on the “Products which I endorse” page.)

Then there is the added bonus.  Both of these players have built-in voice recorders.  Yes, digital recorders are built-in to the MP3 players.  They are not my first choice, but they do allow me to record myself on the spur of the moment when I have forgotten one of my regular recorders.  Those recordings won’t show up on any audio product I ever make, but in a pinch it still allows me to evaluate myself for self-improvement.

Do you record yourself?  What do you use?

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