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How To Be A Great Podcast Guest

Will Johnson
Learner Advocate for egghead.io
・3 min read

After I released my first eBook I was invited on a bunch of podcasts to talk about it. After being on so many back-to-back, I started to notice some patterns that I wanted to change to make a better conversation and better content for listeners.

Research The Host

If someone has podcast chances are they have other content out there. Check if they got a new job, released a new course, anything they would be excited or proud of, and give them props after your introduction.

I got this from The Rock, he does this in interviews a lot. It sets an amazing tone for the rest of the conversation. I mean who doesn't like compliments? Especially if it's someone you never met, it's build trust early.

Also, see if you have any common interests like movies, books, or even previous guests you may have had on the show and what you liked about that episode.

I like podcasts conversations to be laid back and less like interviews, so things like this break the ice and lets everyone relax.

Use the Hosts Name

Dale Carnegie said, “A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language.”

I admit I do not do this. It's such a simple concept and I wish I did it.

It can be as simple as "That's a great question, Nick".
It sparks their attention and makes the conversation more personal. Please, don't do this on every single question it will then come off as fake.

Listen for Bits or Rituals

When I was on the Tech Jr Podcast, I noticed they had a section at the end called "Nerd Minute" where you would talk about anything you were interested in like superheroes, anime, Star Wars, etc.

Since I knew about I had something to prepare and I let the host know that I was aware. More trust built.

Have A Story or Two

Humans love stories, it's how we have communicated since the beginning of time. Stories carry emotions they can be funny, said, or triumphant.

More than likely, you have a story to tell from high school, college, your kids, old job, or something you can tie in.

Spicy Hot Takes

This is always a good one, and be careful how HOT you get. This is something I don't think I've done, at least not on purpose. I have commented on how I thought JavaScript was over-complicated compared to Ruby. It's all in fun though I really don't care.

Those are good hot takes light-hearted ones that don't cause any harm.

Any Weird Hobbies

I really like sleight of hand magic tricks, like card magic. I learned a few tricks off of YouTube and show to them to my kids and their friends.

When I bring it up in interviews people are usually interested in knowing more about it, it's an easy way to tell a story. I usually talk about how I scared my daughter the first time I did one.

Don't Worry About Repeating Yourself

I don't try to talk about new things every single podcast I'm on. They are going to have different audiences more than likely.

If you listen to any famous person who's been on podcasts they have been telling the same stories and making the same points for years. It's completely normal if you don't have something fresh every time don't try and force it.

Take Your Time To Answer Questions

I need to work on this! I'm much better at writing because I get to think before making my points and I can always go back and delete or rewrite.

Pro Tip: Same thing with podcasts! They can edit any dead air, you can even ask for a do-over.

Sadly, I haven't done this since podcasts are recorded sometimes I freeze up because I feel like I have to respond quickly before I have a good thought formulated.

Going forward I will pause more and relax so instead of being pressured to blurt out something to avoid awkward silences. (Podcasts have editors for a reason)

Please Don't Reach For Quotes

I've listened to a few podcasts and you can tell when the quest is really trying to get a quote that will go viral or Instagram. It's annoying and sounds weird just be yourself and I promise you'll have something unique naturally come out of the conversation.

Conclusion

These we basically notes to myself, but I wanted to make them public so others can benefit as well.

If you want to keep up with my podcast appearances follow me on Twitter

Discussion (4)

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andrewmcodes profile image
Andrew Mason

Regarding saying the host’s name: sometimes I’ll be mid episode and start thinking about how I should do this and then...don’t haha.

Great list 👏

Readers take extra note of Will’s advice to not get too spicy. 🔥 It’s easy to get caught up in the moment.

Along with this, if I make a critical comment of a library, I always try to follow it up with a comment about how this isn’t the maintainers fault and that I appreciate their work. You never know who’s listening and open source is hard enough as is.

And don’t forget that if you wake up the next morning and regret something, you should reach out to the host quickly because there’s a good chance they haven’t edited it yet so they can likely cut it out!

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willjohnsonio profile image
Will Johnson Author

Yeah, the name thing is hard! It's something I know but always forget. Trying to get better at remembering

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dolearning profile image
Kevin Cunningham

Awesome post! Nuggets of gold - thanks for sharing!

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willjohnsonio profile image
Will Johnson Author

Thanks Kevin!