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Becoming the Perfect Podcast Guest

I previously wrote an article on the Top Digital Skills Employers Look For in Employees for the Leadership Institute.

This article brought me a wonderful opportunity: an invitation to be a guest speaker on a podcast. I spoke on the digital skills I highly recommend for entering the workforce, and how to gain those skills.

If you're interested you can listen to the interview here:

Before my interview I did non-stop research on how to be the #PerfectPodcastGuest. This was my first time working with podcasters and I didn't want it to be my last. The interview went well, and the interviewer told me after that it was one of the best interviews she's ever had.

So here's what I learned after being a podcast guest speaker:


1) Listen to the Podcast.

Listen for the types of questions, and the most interesting episodes. When you are listening to episodes, find one that really stands out and think about what you could do to replicate it. In my case, the interviews that seemed to be the most interesting were the ones where the guests were giving useful real life examples, and I did my best to do the same.

2) Prepare Your Environment.

Something that personally annoys me, and I know requires a lot of work from the podcaster to edit, is background noise. The buzzing of a lamp, people talking the the background, and dogs barking can be super distracting. I know it can be hard to get some quiet time, especially while everyone is still stuck inside.

What did I do? I did it from my bedroom. I locked the door and sat next to my bookshelf. The bedding, books, and furniture absorb the noise and help you sound clearer through your microphone. Posture can make a huge difference in how you sound so sit up, make sure to smile, and speak right into the microphone. And don't forget to test your equipment beforehand, even if it is just a cheap pair of earbuds like mine!

3) Predict and Practice.

Think about what type of questions your interviewer might ask. Come up with examples of stories, experiences, or tips to add into your answers. Practice out loud asking and answering your questions comfortably. Even have a friend ask you questions on the topic to help you get some practice. The more comfortable you are speaking in a controlled setting the better you will perform when you feel nervous.

4) Listen.

When you are a guest speaker, it's important to remember that it's not a normal back and forth conversation. The host might want to edit the podcast afterwards, potentially taking out entire questions. Make the editing process easier for them by leaving a few seconds between thoughts and questions.

I have a very East-Coast pattern of speaking, so overlapping thoughts and speaking over others is normal and shows you're engaged. This is something to try to avoid at all costs when you're guest speaking. Let the host finish the entire question, and stop your thought as soon as they start speaking.

Most important is to listen to the content of the question. Make sure you're responding to all parts of a question and putting thought into your answers. It's not a conversation, it's ok to pause for a minute to think about your answer.

5) Don't Assume What Will Be Edited.

Don't assume that a misspeak or awkward part of an answer is going to be edited out. When you're speaking try your best to make sure you're giving thoughtful clear answers.

Mistakes will happen. If you listen back and wish an awkward moment was edited out, just remember, everyone is human.

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