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the most important thing in podcast guesting

Being a Guest On Podcasts Isn’t About You (Here’s Why That Matters)

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How are you doing in podcasting as a guest, host, or both?

In this post, Jem Fuller dives deep into the idea that being a podcast guest is not about you. Although this sounds counter-intuitive, it’s about getting out of your own way to serve the greater good of the conversation. This understanding frees you up from any self-consciousness to create a more free-flowing and engaging conversation.

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Podcast guests, it’s not about you. Sounds counterintuitive, right? I mean, surely it’s about you. You are the one being interviewed. You are the one being asked about your story, your experiences, and lessons learned.

So how can it not be about you?

The funny thing is that when we go into a podcast interview with this mindset, we become self-conscious. This view can get in the way of the potential positive impact for the podcast host, the show, and ultimately the listeners.

We can get in our own way.

But the podcast is about you, and to an even large extent, it’s about your ability to get out of your own way and not make it about you.

That’s what I want to talk about today. How our self-consciousness can be an obstacle to the quality of what we hope to achieve.

How I Overcame My Own Self-consciousness

a musician playing guitar in front of a group of people
 

I remember a time in 1998, in a city in India called Varanasi.

I was on one of my spiritual journeys. I was wandering barefoot through the Indian subcontinent, searching for the meaning of life, or at least the meaning of my own life and how I fit into it.

I was inevitably very self-conscious and began a journey of self-reparation, self-acceptance, and self-love.

So eventually I was able to get out of my own way and not make it about me.

But to get there, I was making it all about me. Because that was all I knew.

I was in my late twenties and had been writing songs for a long time.

But I had not released any of them because of my self-consciousness.

I was in Varanasi, and my sister was there too. I remember we were sitting on a boat on the river with some other backpackers and a couple of locals.

We were sitting around, and I had my guitar with me and was playing quietly in the corner of the room.

And my sister said, “I can’t hear you. Can you, can you please sing a little louder?”

I was very self-conscious, but I mustered some confidence and started singing some of my original songs.

At the end of the evening, my sister said to me, “Jem, you write beautiful songs. Why don’t you share them with others?” I replied, “People do not want to hear about my stuff.  All my songs are very personal. They are about my own struggles or emotions or whatever. People do not want to hear about me.”

She responded, “You’re missing the point. When someone listens to a song, they’re not making it about you. They’re identifying with the song in their own lives. They can relate to the song. They hear the words of your songs and think: How does this relate to me? How can I identify with this song? Do you actually know that you’re being really selfish? By making it about you and keeping these songs to yourself, you are preventing other people from enjoying or benefiting from your music.”

That really hit home with me. I thought to myself, “Wow, I am getting in the way of sharing music by making it all about me.”

That was the moment I started to shift my thinking.

Even though the moment I was writing a song it was all about me, in the sharing of the song it’s not about me. It’s an opportunity for other people to benefit from that song.

Overcome Making The Podcast Interview About Yourself

It’s a similar story with a podcast interview. You need to make it not about yourself and serve.

This will help the flow of the conversation.
It can add to your authenticity.
It can help push aside any complacency.

With that in mind, here are three things that will help you do that.

  1. Start with the why.
  2. Put your ego aside.
  3. Lean in and listen.

Start with the Why

What is Your Why in Podcasting
Why are we having this conversation? What is the higher purpose of the podcast interview? Why does the show exist? These are questions you can ask your podcast host before the interview.

When I am looking for podcasts to go on, I do not focus too much to how many listeners or downloads they have. What I am curious about is, “Why are you running this podcast? What’s your higher purpose?”

If I know the higher purpose of the podcast, I can better serve the higher purpose Why.

Next, I want to know why the podcaster has me as a guest on their show.

What do they hope to get out of this conversation? And finally, what is my higher purpose? What is the positive impact I hope to make?

Put your Ego To the Side

Our ego takes everything personally. It’s super defensive and very reactive. Our ego defends its sense of identity over everything else. We identify with our ideas. We identify with our beliefs.

If your ego is driving you in this conversation, you will cling tightly to your ideas of how you think things should be.

You can still debate differing opinions and have a solid conversation and still loosen your grip a little on the way you think things should be.

You can put your ego on the back burner and say, “Right now, it’s not about me trying to prove my point, it’s about us having a wonderful conversation and seeing where it goes.”

When we hold on tightly to something, the course is set.

When we loosen our grip a little, then the course of the communication can flow and go where it needs to go.

Lean in and Listen

Pay attention to podcast host
The more you can pause, lean into the conversation and listen, and really try to understand the podcast host, the better the interview will be.

The word communication originally comes from the Latin noun communicatio, meaning to share, and the Latin verb communicare, meaning to make common.

When you come with a curiosity and an open mind to their perspective and point of view, it can evolve into a conversation that goes beyond the individuals involved and becomes a collective communication.

If communication is to achieve its goal, we must be aware of the higher purpose. I do not really mind how we will get to our goal in this conversation. What I care about is why we are having this conversation. So keep the higher purpose in mind.

I care about is authenticity. What matters to me is connection. What’s important to me is that this conversation hopefully benefits someone, somewhere out there. So I am going to lean in, listen and try to understand.

In Conclusion

Those are my three tips for you as a podcast guest. I hope that was helpful. And congratulations on being part of the PodMatch community. It’s wonderful to be a part of this community. I look forward to having a really good conversation with you sometime in the future.


About Jem Fuller

Jem Fuller has lived a colorful, global life. From barefoot backpacker to corporate leader, fire-dancer, and traditional tattooist, a kindergarten teacher to motorcycle courier, masseuse and reflexology to laborer and travel consultant. Now his time is as a partner and father, coach, facilitator, and retreat leader. He is the author of the recently published book, The Art of Conscious Communication for Thoughtful Men, and can be seen delivering his TEDx talk on YouTube.