Other things to know

How the recording works

We will record the podcast episode in one continuous recording; but there may be some starting and stopping involved. I will heavily edit the podcast after we’re done, so don’t worry about making mistakes.

If we are recording face-to-face, you won’t need to worry about operating any technology: I’ll do that.

You will need to be conscious to talk into the microphones. Some of my microphones are very sensitive; you should try to avoid fidgeting in chairs, rustling papers and that sort of thing.

Try to avoid speaking directly into the microphone itself; you don’t need to do that as it’s powerful enough to pick up your voice but it sometimes can cause “popping” or other audio distortions if you get too close, or too direct1.

You will need to sit fairly still in front of the device, and speak at a consistent volume. You’ll need to be around 30cm to 70cm away from the device for the best sound, so it might be a bit cosy.

If we are recording over the internet, you will need to read these instructions to join the recording using Zencastr.

Style and tone

The tone I’m going for with this podcast is “don’t take this too seriously”. Try to relax and be as conversational as possible when you’re talking.

One tip: don’t write down everything you’re planning to say verbatim. Instead, just make some very high-level notes for your pitches, and practice a little to keep to time. If you try to read from a piece of paper, you’ll sound like a robot; and no one wants to listen to a robot!

Talk like you would if you weren’t being recorded: casually and without too much of a plan!

Things you shouldn’t do

Don’t make it Political

I’m a civil servant; I can’t — by law — comment on things that would bring the government of the day into disrepute. As this is my show, you won’t be able to do that either because it’ll get me into trouble.

Please don’t drag any current political issues into your answers. Don’t mention politicians currently in the media spotlight, and no stealing ideas that are currently being touted by one of the major UK political parties.

Don’t swear

This is an easy one, I hope. It’s easier to keep the podcast listed in the Apple Podcasts and Spotify podcast listings if there’s no swearing.

Don’t be too outrageous

The idea of this podcast is to be a bit silly, but that doesn’t mean we have a licence to be offensive. Try to keep your ideas suitable for a wide audience.

If in doubt think: “would I want to be known for this on the front page of the Daily Mail?” — and if the answer is “no”, don’t suggest it!

Don’t tell anyone what you’ve done yet

Don’t tell anyone what policy problems you were given, or what your solutions were.

Once your episode has been published on the podcast feed, you can tell anyone you like, of course!

Don’t get offended if we stop and start again

I want you to sound your best; so please don’t get narked if I stop you and ask you to start again during the recording.

  1. It’s not the end of the world if this happens though: I’ll be listening to the recording as it happens, so if I hear any odd background noise, audio distortion or anything else: we’ll just pause, and pick up again from the start of your or my last sentence.