This is one of those things that you usually learn after you’ve experienced a huge problem: a mysterious hum in your audio file; unusually loud ambient noise while recording in a restaurant; or an interviewee who is a low talker. [My friends all know that I can relate anything to a Seinfeld episode.]
Fortunately, there’s an easy remedy: monitor while you record your podcast. All you have to do is plug in your headphones and tweak your settings so that you can play back as you speak.
When I record anything longer than five minutes in my studio, I always monitor myself. In this way, I can hear any popped Ps, lip smacks or other faux pas right away. Out in the field, while I’m using my digital recorder, it’s especially important to monitor the recording, because this might be the only opportunity I get to interview my guest or to capture a certain sound. Thanks to monitoring, I can immediately find out when some extraneous noise is ruining my audio.
Don’t let the noise gremlins get you! Put on those headphones and monitor yourself. Who cares if you look like a nerd? (Actually, you can use discreet little earbuds, which aren’t as noticeable as full-fledged headphones.)