6 Tips for Being a Great Podcast Guest
By TINA DIETZ, guest columnist
In today’s fast-paced, time-compressed world, audio is becoming an increasingly popular medium. More than one-third of Americans are tuning in to podcasts on a monthly basis and that number is expected to reach 132 million by 2022.
In many ways, podcasting is the ideal learning and entertainment medium for busy, successful people like you and your clients. You can consume podcasts anytime, anywhere. For senior advisors, podcasting is an excellent platform for sharing your stories and for engaging in deeper conversation with time-pressed clients and other decisionmakers.
As a thought leader in our industry, I’m sure you’ve been invited on podcasts or have several that you’d like to be on. Before accepting and strapping on the headphones, consider these tips below:
6 Tips for Being a Great Podcast Guest:
1. Establish rapport with the host
If the host likes to reading from scripted questions, then as a guest you will need some skills in developing intimacy with the host. Consider doing a thematic exercise in which you pretend the host is someone you know and like. In order to connect and calm your nerves, it’s helpful to imagine engaging in conversation with someone you have a close relationship with.
Be warm and conversational. Coming across as relatable is more important than coming across as an expert. The more that you can create the vibe that you are sitting across from someone having a cup of coffee, the more successful you will be as a podcast guest.
2. Imagine you are talking to the audience one-on-one
When you’re speaking on a podcast, never forget you’re speaking directly into the listener’s ear. This is unlike speaking on a stage where there are multiple body language techniques and nonverbal cues to keep in mind.
Podcasting is meant to be a more personal experience. When thinking about your message, make sure to start from that mentality. Leaders are the voice of their firms, so it’s important to ask yourself: “How do I want people to experience me? In terms of my energy and presence, how do I want to come across? What do I want listeners to take away from this?”
3. Utilize different vocal techniques to increase your trustworthiness and credibility
When it comes to positioning yourself as an expert, there are numerous factors that come into play — and your voice is one that often gets overlooked. The way you sound affects the way you are perceived; it affects your ability to get your message across. Mastering this technique takes practice.
For example, lower pitched voices tend to be viewed as more credible. That’s not to suggest you’re doomed if you have a naturally high voice; however, it’s one piece of the puzzle, and having a deep voice will definitely give you a competitive edge. I have found there are four main areas to focus on:
a) Articulation — Clear pronunciation will make listeners consider you well-educated and intelligent. If you want to improve your articulation, repeat challenging words before going on the air until you pronounce them properly. Also, it’s very important to slow down the rate at which you speak when you’re on the air. Nerves and inexperience tend to make you talk faster than you think.
b) Tempo — The speed at which you speak is what captivates the attention of the listener. Tempo is highly individual but can make a difference in how listeners process the information you are sharing with them. When speech is too slow, people often become bored or disinterested. On the other hand, when speech is too fast, speakers may slur their words or fail to convey their message effectively.
In terms of perceived credibility, a “normal” rate of delivery is ranked the highest. This means you need to be authentic and communicate in a way that makes you feel confident and comfortable. Your tempo can be improved by focusing on your breath. Many people don’t realize they hold their breath when they speak. Make sure you are breathing naturally.
c) Fluidity — Your speech should have a smooth flow. Try to avoid using “um,” “like,” “you know” and other filler words that make you appear less articulate. We are often don’t realize how often we use these lazy filler words in our everyday speech. Break the habit! The less you reach for your filler words, the more confident you will appear.
It’s better to be transparent with your thinking process. When asked a question, pause for a moment and if you need more time to answer, you can say “let me think about that.” This shows you care about the question and want to provide a thoughtful response.
d) Sonority — This refers to the pleasantness of your voice. To come across as more confident and credible, avoid uptalk — the tendency to make every statement you make sound like a question — ”I think we should order an appetizer first?” It gives the impression that you don’t know what you’re talking about, or have very little confidence in what you are saying.
Also, it’s important to be mindful of “vocal fry.” This is a way of speaking in which your voice sounds low and cracked. This speaking style is often associated with boredom and ditziness.
4. Be willing to make requests
Most podcasts are recorded ahead of time so edits can be made. This is within the parameters of podcast etiquette, and hosts are generally appreciative when guests ask to revise and re-record their answers. It takes a great deal of pressure off of you and the host if you make requests during an interview. So, if something isn’t sitting right with you, let the host know.
5. Change up the narrative
We are all familiar with the story structure, “Once upon a time…” and are used to hearing a narrative in chronological order with the big reveal uncovered only at the end of the story.
What’s more interesting as a listener? “Once upon a time there was a boy named Johnny?” or “Johnny couldn’t believe his eyes. He turned the corner and saw…”
When you write out a narrative, start at the middle or at the end, rather than the beginning. Here’s why: We lean into the conversations when we hear a result. We think to ourselves, “Well how did that happen? And then what?”
This is how you pull in a listener. On a podcast when you have limited time to tell your full story, a ‘once upon a time’ narrative risks causing most people to zone out after 30 seconds. Try to turn stories on their head to make storytelling more exciting. Drop people into the story from the middle or the end to create intrigue.
6. Help the host prepare beforehand and follow up after
In terms of preparing for the podcast, send the host the proper pronunciation of your first and last name, links to your social media profiles, your headshot, and suggested questions that might help the host get inspired. This will make you stand out as a guest.
Finally, follow up with a thank you email to the host after your interview, and share your podcast episode with your networks when it goes live. Thank the host again in any communications on social media. This courtesy helps strengthen your relationships and increases your chances of being referred to another interview opportunity.
As the old saying goes: “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be invited back again and again to share your expertise with an ever-expanding number of followers and admirers.
Did you find these tips helpful? Do you know of any that aren’t on the list?
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