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Building Authentic Connections in Podcasting Through Empathy
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Establishing a connection with listeners requires that podcast guests show up to record with hosts from a state of empathy. In this blog post, Ron Macklin shares that empathy is the key to creating a dialogue that the audience can’t stop listening to. By being an empathic guest, you position yourself to impact listeners’ lives, ultimately leading to more collaborations and connections. Get ready to raise your impact as a podcast guest!
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Hi, I’m Ron Macklin. Welcome to a podcast on the power of empathy. In podcasting, power, for me, means it’s the capacity to get things done. Although people can say, you know, it’s a term of pushing people down, power is just your ability to do something. Sorry, I’m a recovering engineer.
Power means the ability to get things done. When I look at empathy, the first question is, what does it take to be empathetic with somebody? Empathy is my definition here. It’s understanding what the other person’s going through, their situation, understanding who they are and what they’re going through. So it’s about kind of about focused on the other person.
Connections in Podcasting
And in a podcast, being empathetic on the podcast, either as a guest or as a host, is really to be looking at the other person and understanding what they’re going through. How do you do this? We’ve all built a relationship where it took six months to a year or maybe years to build trust with somebody with whom you could share who you are and what’s happening in the world. We don’t have that on a podcast. We’ve got like milliseconds.
Right? Sometimes we need to do this beforehand, but we can do it in milliseconds at the beginning of the podcast. So how do we do that? Where do we start?
The first place to start is with ourselves.
Like us, when we’re getting ready to go on a podcast, either as a host or guest, there’s a space for us to look at ourselves first to create our way of being before we go in and be empathetic towards ourselves. We spend our whole lives competing. We have stories about ourselves in us that are I’m not enough, I’m not fast enough, not strong enough. I’m scared. And there’s something wrong with me that I’m afraid of.
And there’s nothing wrong with you that you’re scared because everybody is scared. There’s something wrong with you if you’re not afraid. Being human means being nervous, feeling insufficient, being insecure, and not enough. And even those people who have the good, like, they look real confident in the world. Their confidence is how they hide their fears.
“Being human means being scared, feeling insufficient, being insecure, and not enough. And even those people who have the good, like, they look real confident in the world. Their confidence is how they hide their fears.”
They create that to hide their fears, but they’re still scared inside. So we’re all scared. So if you have concerns, anxiety, stomach racing, and all this stuff going on, welcome to being a human. And you’re average, or you’re perfect, you’re perfectly normal, and you’re scared when we know that and that everything you’ve gone through in your life puts you to a place where today you’re the perfect you—all those histories, all that good stuff, all that bad stuff perfectly.
You have to be empathetic with yourself, to say. I’m enough. I’m okay. I may screw this up. And I may learn something cool, but I will be me. And that’s enough.
That’s Empathy That Builds Connections in Podcasting For You
Now you’ve created your world for how you will be inside this space.
So now you can go. We’ve created who we are now—got that? Let’s go to the other person. They’re scared, just like us. They’re insecure, no matter how famous, no matter how powerful, no matter where they grew up, what family they’re connected to, what businesses they’ve run, they’ve all got their fears, they’re all afraid.
Remember, they’re just like us. They’re just like everybody else. And to hold that story that they are that way makes it easier for you to see them as the powerful human they are, with the fears, vulnerability, authenticity, creativity, and gifts they have. Because you can see what’s there for them, not their shields up, which is, look how strong I am, look how good I am. So how do you start that? Because in a podcast, it’s got to happen like that.
It’s like, boom. We got to be there. First, create yourself. Pretty cool. Next, create who they are for you. Like create them in the world, have empathy for them and where they’re at, and look for the moment you can be vulnerable.
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And that means sharing a story about yourself that doesn’t always make you look good, but it makes you look like a good human because you learned something, you grew, you went on, share that story. And that gives the other person and listeners an opportunity to drop their shield, to drop their guard down to where it’s a space where people can listen. They can listen to how it affects them and the world around them. Now, when you create that moment, and you share that vulnerable story, what usually happens, not always, but happens typically, is the other person goes. I relate to that. I’ve been there; I’ve been in something like that.
I’ve been in that space. And now you have two people on a podcast or three. How many darn people do you have on a podcast being vulnerable on this podcast in a space where you can let people who are listening to your podcast drop their shield and say, I don’t have to be perfect? It’s even more potent for them if they can just be themselves and that everything they’ve gone through is cool and enough, everything that was a success and all their failures. And they’re in a place where now they can listen to you openly and honestly as we dance in the conversation. There’s always a place where you can share another story.
There’s Always a Place For More When You Build Connections in Podcasting
They can share another story. You can learn together. You can create something new. Now, what I found in doing this podcasting for two years now, is there are people who, when I drop my shield, and I do that my podcast. And I engage with them authentically to build connections in podcasting.
There’s a place where they’ll want to do something else with us, or I want to do something with them because I go. While I love how you work and move, what can we do next? So you get a conversation with somebody who says, I’d like another strategy conversation. I would love to talk about another podcast. I would love to do whatever you guys want to do. Let me know. How do I get a hold of your stuff, all that kind of space?
“When we can be empathetic, honest, vulnerable, and vulnerable, that also opens up the space for us to be bold, courageous, to be you.”
Because when we can be empathetic when we can be honest, when we can be vulnerable, that also opens up the space for us to be bold, to be courageous, to be you. And that’s, for me, being on a podcast, it’s the other person on the podcast or other people on a podcast. And it’s all the people listening to your podcast. They get a chance to be a different self for them. And there’s nothing secret or special about all this. It’s just people being people and connecting.
And when we can do that, it opens up a whole new world for whatever the topic is for the podcast. Because, see, this is not whatever the podcast topic is about. This is like the foundation that’s underneath the podcast that enables the topic that you want to talk about to be talked about in a way that people can hear it, that they can connect to it, that they can design new experiments and go out into the world and run new experiments. Come back and say, this worked, or I tried. This didn’t work.
“It’s just people being people and connecting. And when we can do that, it opens up a whole new world for whatever the topic is for the podcast.”
There’s a space where we now have a place to open and create a whole bunch of new conversations with each other.
Now, a question you might ask is, who is this guy to tell me the story about empathy? Where did he come from? It’s a good question. This journey started for me, probably somewhere in junior high. It went all the way through my college career, my high school, college career, and football to be able to play and do what I was doing.
Empathy Plays a Significant Role With Building Connections in Podcasting
There were some fantastic athletes, pro athletes now, and I could play with them and dance with them in that space. And I thought, well, that was the end of it. And then I realized it’s the same in the world. Like people who are in business, we’re competing. We’re not collaborating. We’re trying to get the customer, the promotion, the raise, or the job. All of those things are just competing all the time.
And it occurred to me that there was a space, like many individuals running around trying to do stuff. We weren’t connected. We weren’t doing anything worthwhile because we were all trying to survive. By not dying, by not losing your job, by losing your money, losing your income. I set out to build a capacity to connect with people.
Empathy plays a significant role in being able to connect with people. We doubled profitability by 20 million, 40 million, and 60 million to build teams that set world records. I didn’t do those things. It wasn’t me. The groups around me that could be open and honest and quickly communicate what was going on, share their story, and share their fears.
Two Things Happened:
They performed higher than they ever thought was possible for themselves. It was always a treasure when somebody would say. I just did something that I didn’t know I could do. One step, two step. Other people started to show up like I wanted in that group.
I want to be around you guys. And they never went like. I want to be around Ron. No, I want to be around that group because I want to be a part of a group that can perform like that. As more people started to show up and I moved around into a couple of different jobs and locations, the part I really enjoyed was never what the business was like. We would work on something or build/manufacture something.
What Really Matters For Creating Connections in Podcasting
That was never what mattered to me. The relationships and the connections that people would build made people who already had those skills amplify and produce something that sometimes you could say they were troubled people. Not troubled people. That’s not the right word. They were challenged, and suddenly, now, they were outperforming.
But they were doing it as a team. They were connecting as a team. And not like rah rah teams, like people that you could trust people when the phone rang or the text came in, you look forward to seeing, how can I help the person? And that’s built on empathy for the other person, which is built on empathy for yourself. The first part I want to share is the last thing being empathetic, connecting, and vulnerable can sound nasty.
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Like, oh, it’s yuck. Yuck, that’s you choosing it to make it yuck. My stand is to have fun doing this. And fun is not like a result. Like, we did this thing, and then there was fun.
I’m going to do this and have fun while I do it! So have fun telling a vulnerable story. Have fun being authentic.
“Have fun telling a vulnerable story, being authentic, and listening to other people do the same with you. This builds connection in podcasting!”
Have fun listening to other people do the same with you. We’re all in this together if we choose to be, and I choose to be in this with other people. When you can relax, have fun, be open, and be honest. The creativity can flow. You can do things even more significant than possible, and then it’s a good, rich life.
Now, when we look back to podcasting, I intend for every podcast to make a connection, learn something, and appreciate the other person’s gifts for what they bring. And to do that, being empathetic with myself first and second, creates a space for that to happen.
About Ron Macklin
Ron Macklin, Founder of MacklinConnection, is a guide, visionary, and sage. He is the champion for the 5th business revolution and self-led teams. Ron has led successful organizations in Europe and North America profitably, won “Best Place to Work” in Houston, TX, and led seven organizational turnarounds. Additionally, Ron is a husband, and a father, and is continually learning.
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