Fellow podcaster, we’ve all experienced it: laughing so hard it’s near impossible to breathe, hearing a story so touching you can only respond with tears, and learning a new truth so insightful you could swear a literal lightbulb went off above your head! There’s nothing like amazing conversations that are so engaging you inadvertently lose track of time. These magical moments in podcasting can be attributed to having an awesome guest!
For many of us rocking the interviewer-interviewee format, these experiences define why we do what we do and they’re the occasions that provide tons of value to our listeners. But what happens when the tables are turned and you have the opportunity to be a guest on someone else’s podcast? How can we do our best to provide an awesome experience for the host and listener, featuring everything from lightbulb moments to moments of laughter?
I personally tackle this question by thinking in terms of the why, what, how, and who at the center of the podcast (trust me…it makes sense!). Taking these four things into consideration have been a huge help to me whenever I find myself on the other side of the interviewer’s table.
You see…even though you’re the guest, you still have the home court advantage; even though you’re coming in as an interviewee in this scenario, you still understand what it is to be the interviewer. You know how the host is feeling, you know what they’re desiring to get out of this interview experience, and you, as a podcast host, can leverage this knowledge to be a great guest for your fellow podcaster.
Read on for 4 encouraging tips on How a Podcast Host Can Be An Amazing Podcast Guest!
1. Why: Know Why You’ve Been Invited
Most things in life happen for a reason, and you being invited as a guest to someone else’s podcast is definitely one of those things! Think of it as a compliment: someone thinks so highly of what you do or what you know that they want you to share that with the world. So…what do you do? Are you a scientist? Be sure to have the data from that latest peer reviewed study on hand. Are you a business person? Brush up on the most recent trends in your industry, and form an opinion! Are you an artist? Before you walk through the door think through the thing which triggered the inspiration for that profound song lyric.
Know the reason why you were invited, lean into your unique field of expertise, and come prepared to talk about it. It’s a simple frame of mind that will yield powerful results – namely an amazing podcast featuring an amazing podcast guest!
2. What: Consider The Format
Trust me, you don’t want to be a flash in the pan when a slow burn is what’s called for! Be an amazing guest by asking the podcast host what the style, flow, and format of their show is before you’ve strapped yourself into the passenger’s seat. You could go a step further by checking out an episode or two (heck, binge your interviewer’s last season!) to really set both you and the host up for success!
Doing that little bit of extra homework really pays off in the long run. Through listening to a number of previous episodes, you’ll really get a feel for the host, and you’ll have a great handle on the cadence of the show. Is it light and comedic or is it formal and informative? Is the host going to pepper you with an array of interesting questions, or are they going to throw you the ball and just let you run with it? Know the typical length of a show so you can pace yourself accordingly. This will put you at ease; you’ll know whether you have a whole hour of time to unpack your idea, or whether you need to communicate your thoughts in a neat, succinct, 15 minute package. Ultimately, you’ll end up giving the host plenty of content to work with for the final edit, there will be fewer awkward moments or pauses (believe me, the listeners can pick this up!) and you create the opportunities for the kind of banter that takes an episode from good to exceptional!
Related read: The Top 10 Different Types Of Podcast Formats
3. How: Come Relaxed
Before you take the mic, take a chill! The more relaxed you are walking into the guest experience, the more inclined you will be to open up and share your best version of you. Go for a walk, have a great lunch, get enough sleep, listen to your favourite podcast (…maybe your own, haha!). Do those things that you know will put you in your best, most relaxed frame of mind. Run those breathing exercises and wave anxiety goodbye, wear your favourite comfy sweater. Jealously guard your peace! When you’re at your most-centered, you’re going to give of yourself generously, with open hands. You’ll be sharing from a place of authenticity, and the host and audience can connect with you in an authentic way.
Think of doing these things as an investment, where the dividends are a guest who is calm, collected and composed. These kinds of guests invariably give the richest interactions with their hosts, as they’re not tightly wound, but able to be fully present and fully lean in to the moment. Doing these things will translate into an amazing interview with an amazing guest – you!
4. Who: Have The Host In Mind
What would you want your guest to do? Imagine the frustration of trying to interview an expert who wants to talk about everything but their field of expertise! Consider the inconvenience of trying to get an hour out of a guest who has prepared to only share for 15 minutes! Think of having to engage a nervous guest that’s on edge and uptight! Friends, don’t be that guest. Don’t put the interviewer through that unpleasant experience! Have the host in mind, empathize with them and put yourself in their seat – because you know exactly what it’s like.
Do all the things you would want a Superstar Guest to do for you and your show; think of how your level of preparation, degree of diligence, and overall good vibes would make you feel. An ancient Ethicist coined what is known as the Golden Rule: “treat other people the way you would like to be treated.”. Apply this concept whenever you’re a guest on another podcaster’s show, and you will treat your fellow host very well indeed!
In my experience as a podcaster, I’ve always done my best to set my guests up for success, and I’m sure you have too. Imagine the beauty of reversing that dynamic! Imagine doing your best to give the host as great an experience as possible. Indeed, by taking account of the why, what, and how, you’re essentially taking care of the who – the awesome host who invited you onto their awesome show. And, friend, be prepared; by putting these things into practice you may soon find yourself becoming that much sought after guest! Think of the added bonus of becoming an interviewee who is in high demand, with other hosts desperate to have you on their show simply because of the way you help them shine. It’s a win-win! You’re already an amazing host, use these steps and establish yourself as an amazing guest!