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4 Ways To Become More Concise In Your Responses As a Podcast Guest
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Every podcast host’s worst nightmare is having a guest on their podcast who provides long-winded answers, shares lengthy monologues, and goes down every rabbit trail possible. Becoming more concise in your responses makes you a dream guest! In this blog post, Paul Granger explains the art of concise communication for podcast guests and how mastering this art can lead to more podcasting-related opportunities. Get ready to learn the benefit of brevity and simple ways to hone your stories to impact your podcast guesting and even your everyday conversations!
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There was a time in my life when I knew nothing about the game Roblox. And then my son became obsessed. Roblox is a global gaming platform that allows gamers worldwide to build landscapes and adventures together. Our kids don’t do much gaming, but our son was introduced and latched on fast. Here’s what you need to understand about my son.
He loves connection, and he’s an external processor. Functionally, this means when something has caught his attention, he will share it with those around him. At length, I can’t tell you how many seemingly endless soliloquies would take place over dinner. In contrast, my wife and I went from room to room, our oldest at our heels, telling us about the avatar he created, the bricks he assembled, or the creeper he avoided. What I can tell you is that I had to look up Roblox terms for this because, despite the number of hours I’ve heard about it, there’s very little I’ve retained. I’ve been told enough content on Roblox to qualify for college-level credit.
And yet those hours of unloaded game facts have yielded little fruit. In other words, saying a lot doesn’t always mean you’re telling a lot. Where did my son go wrong? And where can you, as a guest, go right? I’m Paul Granger, the host of Where did you see God and what’s God doing?
The 3 Types of Podcast Guests
I’ve encountered three types of guests: the guest who says too little, the guest who says too much, and the guest whose content is just right. Imagine Goldilocks creating a podcast where she interviews anthropomorphic animals. Mama Bear comes on and gives one-sentence answers to every question, leaving Goldie struggling to cultivate dialogue. Papa Bear is long-winded, and it’s 45 minutes before Goldie can get a word in. But Baby Bear baby Bear’s answers are just correct.
Not too short or long, leaving Goldie engaged and wanting to hear more. Typically, the mama bears on my podcast are those who have never guested before and are so uncomfortable they subconsciously minimize responses. The fact you are here likely means most of you are comfortable in the mic. And when you’re comfortable in the mic, you can end up getting too comfortable in the mic. You may not be Mama Bear, but you may be a loquacious Papa Bear.
Hosts can struggle with talkative guests, and so can listeners. Lengthy monologues can leave hosts feeling disengaged and listeners losing their story amidst the rabbit trails. Naturally, this can lead to fewer invitations and even fewer listens. The tragedy is your voice matters, and it’s a travesty. That word count could be the difference between it being heard or not.
Being Concise In Your Responses Makes You The Best Possible Guest
I want to help you become the baby bear of podcasting because brevity can be beautiful. So how do we grow less verbose and become a guest who gets more shows? We have to begin internally, and there’s no better question to start with than why before you share. Take time to ask why you want to share. The answer to this will impact how you communicate. If you become more concise in your responses, you’ll quickly become the favorite guest!
“Brevity can be beautiful. Your voice matters, and it’s a travesty that excessive content can lead to fewer invitations and listens.” – Paul Granger
For example, let’s say you lost your job and have a story of finding a new purpose. If your why for sharing is that you know the host has a similar story, you may find your account coming out organically and conversationally. Conversely, if your why is because you’ve got pent-up frustration and need to vent, your host may find themselves navigating an emotion-filled diatribe. I’m not going to tell you your why for sharing, but I need you to understand that knowing it matters. And there will be situations in which it may be wise to pivot.
When I share my personal story of a toxic work environment and unjust firing, I’ve learned to be aware of when transferring from a healthy or unhealthy place and how that positions me as a guest. I have friends with whom I continue to care for the host and their listeners. I should consider what would be valuable for them. This leads to the next bit of internal work. Am I doing this for me, or am I willing to see this as a partnership?
Why It’s Important To Be Concise In Your Responses
When you join as a guest on a podcast, you are coming into their home, and you must respect that space and understand the context. I’ve guessed it a few times on the Bible Says What? Which presents itself as an atheist versus Christian podcast. As a Christ follower, I knew it was essential to understand the space into which Michael was inviting me and shape my engagement around what would show respect to him and his listeners, even if we disagreed. However, many guests have gone on his show without the due diligence of looking beyond the title they saw.
Due Diligence Matters
I assumed it was a Christian show, and many have overshared in ways that were not honoring to the space. For some, their why was to talk or self-promote, and as a result, the conversations became awkward, messy, or disrespectful to Michael and his listeners. You have to know your context. My son’s Roblox diatribes might not have landed with me and my wife but could land well among his peers or other players. Your story matters, but when you go on a show, you share it as a gift to others.
“Know your context when sharing your story as a gift to others. You wouldn’t offer fries to someone allergic to potatoes, and too many guests have offered content their host wasn’t looking for.” – Paul Granger
You wouldn’t offer fries to someone allergic to potatoes, and too many guests have offered content their host wasn’t looking for. When that content becomes a basket of bottomless fries, it becomes problematic. This doesn’t mean you can’t share certain things, but you should ask specific questions. Am I willing to shift how I may usually share to honor the context of this space? Does what I’m saying bring value to the hosts and the listeners?
Or am I sharing just to be heard? Am I willing to not share something if it feels forced? This is essential work before you record, but it is equally important during. Keep an eye on the host. Do they seem engaged?
Don’t forget to RSVP:
Are their facial expressions showing they are following your story? Or do they seem distracted? Is it clear they’re trying to speak but can’t get a word in? Observing your host and responding accordingly is a critical way to honor them and benefit you. After all, they know their listeners, and good hosts know how to keep you from veering and guide you to the best topics.
But let’s get practical. You can best honor the host and their listeners by equipping yourself to share. Unfortunately, we often default to a mode of sharing that works well for an unrestricted conversation with a friend at the park but not for a structured 30-minute show. The hard reality is our stories are often far too long for a podcast context. But Paul, you contest.
You don’t understand. My story is just that long. I can’t help it. Oh, but you can. Please think of one of your go-to stories right now.
How long is it required to tell it? Ten minutes? 20 minutes? An hour? What if I told you the long story you love to tell could become only two minutes?
I was right there with you if your gut reaction was doubt, defiance, or rage. I once did a fundraising training where I was told the same thing. That story that, I know takes time to speak needed to be converted into a two-minute version. Impossible. But why?
4 Ways To Become More Concise In Your Responses As a Podcast Guest:
We are convinced brevity is impossible with specific stories, but you can achieve the impossible in four steps. First, you’ll want to type out your account and be mindful of length.
STEP#1: Remove The Details
You’ll begin with step one when it’s over two minutes. First, we tend to load our stories with descriptive details that are vital for us but may not be necessary for the podcast. They may not need to know that it was the hottest summer on record when you lost your job.
“You can achieve the impossible of turning your long story into a concise two-minute version in four steps. It keeps you from being long-winded, helps you sound professional and confident, and provides content for any conversation.” – Paul Granger
And while you were dealing with losing your job, you were also dealing with a broken AC unit, which added more stress. It can feel wrong to strip those details out, but so many of them only carry value because we were there to experience them. As you rework your story into a two-minute version, start by finding as many nonvital details as possible and delete them. You’ll be surprised how quickly that long story trims down.
STEP#2: Don’t Tell Them Everything
Second, you don’t have to tell them everything.
This is different from stripping descriptive details because we can put valuable subsegments of our story to the side, at least for now. For example, though necessary, they may not need to know that as you were losing your job, you were working through a related difficult situation with a coworker and came to a place of healing as you departed. We fear that if we don’t say it, they won’t know it. But dropping these parts can leave the host desiring to learn more. At which point, they may ask.
You can plant those seeds by saying something like, I’d be happy to share more on this, but as I lost my job, there was an unexpected restoration with a coworker. Trust the host to know if they should water the seed or not. Go back to your story. Pull out the substories. And now your soliloquy is significantly shorter.
STEP#3: Be Short, Then Be Shorter
Third, just straight up shorten it some more. It’s nice to have guidance on how to shorten it, but sometimes it’s good to be blunt. Make some cuts. Get it to two minutes. However, you need to.
Don’t stress about whether the cut was correct or not. Remember, you aren’t crafting a new life story here, simply a short version. You can still tell the extended version at the park, but you need something succinct and flexible to work in the most structured podcast.
Last, spend some time describing the shortened version—notice I didn’t say reciting.
You could choose to memorize what you’ve written, but the process has equipped you to be a more efficient storyteller. By practicing telling it, you’ll remember the details to strip the stories to set aside and concise ways to capture key points. Practice sharing it with a friend who can spare two minutes. Record yourself sharing it with a stopwatch going. And as a bonus, post it on social media. The goal: Become more concise in your responses!!!
This may stretch you, but I can guarantee you can make two-minute versions of your core stories that flow naturally. This is valuable for a few reasons. It keeps you from being long-winded or lost on rabbit trails. It helps you discern and protect the purposes of your stories. Also, it enables you to sound professional and confident.
When You’re Concise In Your Responses, Content Gets Seen More
It gives you content for short-form podcasts, everyday interactions, and more. And, of course, it’s easier to add to a short version if you discover you have more time than to take back any oversharing. My homework assignment is for you to work this process through your top three stories. Again, you’re not eliminating how you usually tell it but creating a new version with the benefit of brevity and doing this with at least that’ll build a mental portfolio of vignettes ready for any podcast or conversation.
But what if there are elements of the more extended versions that you don’t want them to miss? One powerful solution is to record them and make them accessible. I’ve captured long-form versions of a few of my core stories, like the story of when God invited me to pursue an impossible house. This story has amazing elements that can’t fit into a standard podcast. But by recording it, I can say that there was one time God invited me to pursue an impossible house.
And you can hear that story on my website. In this way, you open the door to even deeper engagement from listeners. And here’s an unexpected perk: you’ll discover you are more than your one big story. We may be on ten podcasts and find we told the same long story on each one. As we grow our mental portfolio of vignettes, we can challenge ourselves to hone more stories, giving us more depth that will draw the listeners deeper.
Conclusion: Become More Concise In Your Responses
The reality is, we’re not saying only baby bears should be on the mic. There are places where the styles of the mama and papa bears are just right. What we’re saying is that we not only need to be mindful of our default style but also be willing to put intentionality into making our storytelling more versatile. Doing that internal work and crafting brief vignettes will make us engage guest hosts who bring back multiple times and listeners pursue when the story stops.
About Paul Granger
Paul Granger is the content creator at wheredidyouseeGod.com and host of the “Where Did You See God? Podcast”. For the last two decades, he has served in several inner-city ministries and now serves his community in a support-based capacity. He is part of a broadcasting team through YWAM City Lights and a grateful husband and father of three.
- Visit Paul Granger’s Website
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- Watch the What’s God Doing Podcast (hosted by Paul)
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