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Want 5 quick ways to improve as a podcast host or guest?

Communication Hacks For Podcast Guests Who Want To Maximize Their Impact

Communication Hacks For Podcast Guests Who Want To Maximize Their Impact

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

Do you feel lost in the crowd with so many people guesting on podcasts these days? Do you worry that you’re just another voice on another podcast? There’s something you can do to ensure this isn’t you! In this episode, John Duffin explains how you can become an iconic podcast guest who leaves a lasting impression. By focusing on the fundamentals, you’ll become a more confident speaker that listeners want to work with. Get ready to optimize your communication skills and “wow” listeners!

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Hey folks, I’m John Duffin here with Duffin Media. I’ve been fortunate to be able to host and guest on several podcasts. And today, if we do this right, you’ll get the opportunity to optimize your communications by leveraging your voice. What do I mean? My whole purpose and intention is to get your message heard and understood and your intended message received. This way, you can optimize your impact when guesting or hosting podcasts. People will hear you, believe you, and want to follow you.

So here’s what I’d like to do today. I want to deliver my top tips, hacks, and ways that you can do precisely that: optimize your communications by leveraging your voice. What is this all about? This is all about what I call the arc to authenticity.

Understanding Differentiation: Standing Out in Podcasting

I need to deliver an authentic message when hosting a podcast or guesting on podcasts. The rationale behind that is that this is what makes me different. I intend to identify your differentiation. Easy to say, right? Differentiation is the way that you’re able to communicate that sets you apart. So when people are watching or hearing you, they’re like, ” Oh my God. ” I get that. I appreciate that.

Some of my hacks will help you ensure your voice isn’t quivering or hovering, and eyeing, screaming, inspiring questioning, or doubting. I want you to stand steadfast, sit true if you will, with confidence, clarity, and the ability to receive your intended message again. Tips, shall we? No problem.

Let’s get rolling and deliver what I intended to. Here’s an example of a great way to center yourself. How you deliver the message can work on Zoom, live, or any other platform. It’s a podcast, obviously, but if you’re speaking to an audience, whether one person or a group, here’s a great way to center yourself and keep your voice accurate and correct.

The Navy SEALs Body of Evidence Technique: Centering Yourself for Success

I call this the Navy SEALS Body of Evidence Technique. It’s a two-fold technique, and I’ve used it. People have shown me, and when I combine these two, it helps me tremendously. So, do you have 16 seconds? That’s the whole length of time that you need for this. It’s a breathing technique coupled with a mindset. When you pull this off, it’s incredible how you can get yourself centered. So here it is.

Number one is the Navy SEAL’s body of evidence, the Navy SEAL’s breathing technique. And look, no one is confusing me for a Navy SEAL person. However, where did this come from? This came from my therapist, who is also a renowned sports psychologist. His name is Joe Dowling. He wrote a book called Zonefulness, the Navy SEAL’s Breathing Technique. I got Navy SEALs out of a panic situation. And I’ll show you. It’s this simple.

Box breathing. Inhale for four.

Hold for four.

Exhale for four.

Hold again for four.

I might have rounded up on the 16 seconds, but that’s your 16-second thing. What was the second part? I call it the body of evidence. Look, folks, one of the things that can take you out of a great conversation is fear and worry, imposter syndrome, if you will.  All of those things can take you out of the game. So when you’re doing that 16 seconds of breathing, here’s the recommendation.

More Than Positive Thinking

It’s not just positive thinking. It’s more than that based on science. It also came from my psychologist, Joseph Dowling. The body of evidence is a reminder that you’ve done something. I’ll give you an example for me. So I need to remind myself sometimes that I’ve run a marathon. Now, I’m not telling you that to impress you. Trust me. You wouldn’t be impressed if you’ve ever seen me run. But I finished a marathon. I run them in Chicago, Berlin, and Germany, to name a couple. This guy is finishing a marathon. So why does that matter? Again, it’s not to impress you, but it’s a reminder that never in my life did I think I could accomplish that, and I did. I include that sometimes in that body of evidence. For you, for me, it doesn’t matter what the example is. This isn’t a competition.

“. . . whether you’re the guest or the host, you’re here for a reason. You’re here to add value. So often, we take ourselves out of the competition. The truth of the matter is you deserve to be there. You’re bringing something” – John Duffin

You Deserve a Seat at the Table

It’s something that you feel proud about, that you did that you didn’t think you could do. Anytime in your life, it’s the fourth-grade math, B. Well, that was just me. But the fact is, for you, it’s anything. Whatever it is, have it available when you’re doing that 16 seconds of breathing. Have that in, layer it in. Those two things are done to remind you that you deserve a seat at that table. The seat at the table, whether you’re the guest or the host, you’re here for a reason. You’re here to add value. So often, we take ourselves out of the competition. The truth of the matter is you deserve to be there. You’re bringing something. Those two tactics go to one hack. The Navy SEALs breathing coupled with the body of evidence. What does it do? It puts you front and center; again, you deserve a seat at that table, which brings me to my next point.

Folks, this is all about preparation. None of my tips, techniques, hacks, or whatever you want to call them will replace preparation. This is not a vocal tip; it’s just a tip. It would help if you were prepared. You can’t. When communicating with anyone, as a host or guest, you must ensure that you’re in the right place with them.

Leveraging Your Voice: Tips for Optimizing Communication

How do you do that? Well, here is a hack. Communicate with them. Would you like stories or examples? Do you want me to omit anything? Here’s where I’d like to head. Am I headed in the right direction? Before you go on with a host or guest, these are all general questions you can have to ensure you’re not stumbling and fumbling all through. Again, preparation is the key.

Eliminating Fillers: Strategies for Confident Speaking

There’s a former athlete; well, actually, he’s a current athlete; his name is Russell Wilson. He was playing for the Seattle Seahawks, and his line as a young quarterback; somebody asked him, what makes you different? His line “Preparation is the separation.” And that, to me, is key. Ensure you’re buttoned up so you can sound casual and at ease. So, very often, you’re having a conversation, whether it’s with a friend, guest, client, or whoever. I’ve been in these situations where you’re speaking with someone, or it’s you, starting with the mums, uhs, mm, and fillers.

All of a sudden, what they do is they tend to stop your train of thought. They tend to stop the guest’s train of thought. When someone hears, um, what would you think is going through the mind of the person you’re speaking with? I’ll help you. Doubt, confusion, lack of focus. Everybody does this, by the way. Everybody. Um’s, uh’s, again Uh, everybody. I am not saying to sweat it, but this is typically fixable. No one loves hearing it. They’ll forgive you if you speak with somebody and have a relationship or rapport. They’re not going to worry about that. But here’s a great way to omit and avoid it. Focus. I’ve spoken in front of audiences, and one of the things I realize is this. This works with one person or a group.

Focused Listening: Engaging with Your Conversation Partner

This tactic of watering the plants focuses on a person, whether for a thought or a sentence. A podcast interview is typically a one-on-one. So that’s easy. Make sure you are laser-focused, not just on the host or guest, but the conversation in general and the exact train of thought. You want to follow everything. It is hard to go into the ah-um, ah-s when focused. So what this does is stay with the person speaking with you.

Worry less about the bullet points of what you’ll say next or what you intend to convey. Did I get my top three? Don’t worry about it because when you do that, you’re already projecting forward, which can be a mistake when speaking. You want to be in because follow-up questions are incredibly compelling. Tell me a little more, give me an example, or I didn’t know that. Whatever it is that you stay connected in the conversation, some of the most compelling conversations come from a random thought. Your ability to follow up proves that you were listening, number one.

“Worry less about the bullet points of what you’ll say next or what you intend to convey. Did I get my top three? Don’t worry about it because when you do that, you’re already projecting forward, which can be a mistake when speaking” – John Duffin

Demonstrate That You Can Carry a Conversation

It demonstrates that you can carry on a conversation, and who knows where it will head. And by the way, who knows where it’s going to head? Often, it’s good news. Now, one of the things that I have been asked a lot, speaking of often, is whether I sound okay. I will give you an example of conversations I’ve had where a simple tweak, a hack, would get you past a point of doubt and insecurity and into a point of confidence and engagement. And it’s the term you might have heard before up-speak. That’s precisely what it is: ending your thought with a question. Everyone also does this, but have you been conversing with people where everything sounds like a question? And if I go to the store, do you want me to pick up milk or eggs? Here’s the thing: of course, you’ll ask questions.

“I will give you an example of conversations I’ve had where a simple tweak, a hack, would get you past a point of doubt and insecurity and into a point of confidence and engagement. And it’s the term you might have heard before up-speak. That’s precisely what it is: ending your thought with a question.” – John Duffin

If you’re hosting a podcast, it’s your job to ask a couple of questions, but everything should sound like something other than a question because here’s why. People hear this, and there’s almost this sense of unnecessary rhythm. People follow rhythms. I worked with a renowned voice coach, Roger Love. He talks about the top five of pitch, pace, tone, melody, and volume and refers to up-speak.

Of course, you’ll ask questions, but let me tell you, be careful with the up-speak because when you hear, ” Should I sound like this or that, or should we go here or there? ” It often gets confused with doubt and insecurity. I want you to take the lead. The problem is, if you’re the one taking the lead in a conversation, people hear that, and maybe they’ll run scared.

Overcoming Communication Hurdles: Tips for Confidence and Clarity

So, how do you address that without being too focused on how you sound? And by the way, all of this is to be done so it’s a natural sense of communication, not worrying about Do you sound good? Do you sound pretty? None of this is in play here, right? So, remember that less is more regarding the questions. Even when you ask a question, you can ask it in a declarative, engaging way. Should we go here or here? Would you instead do this or that? Folks, it still sounds engaging when I talk about those things; it doesn’t sound unsure or doubtful. You want to be in a conversation.

Again, remember that part about the seat at the table? Well, here’s another example. Don’t take yourself out of a conversation because it sounds like you don’t know if you should be there. You deserve a seat at the table and should sound that way, too. Look, hopefully, the goal is you’re doing a ton of podcasting. You want to make sure people hear your authentic voice when podcasting. That’s important. As we talked about before, none of this is to make you sound a certain way, make you sound pretty, like an announcer. No one wants to hear announcer-y people anymore. I’ve gotten dialed back in some of the work I do where people say to me, well, John, you’re sounding a little announcer-y. And I laugh, and it’s like, I’m just talking. I have a particular way of speaking. My reminder: none of this is to help you sound like me. It’s the exact opposite. I want you to sound like your best version of yourself.

“Don’t take yourself out of a conversation because it sounds like you don’t know if you should be there. You deserve a seat at the table and should sound that way, too. Look, hopefully, the goal is you’re doing a ton of podcasting. You want to make sure people hear your authentic voice when podcasting. That’s important.” – John Duffin

“Game-Day Physicality”

This trick works well if you’re in front of a live audience. But the fact of the matter is, I call it your game-day physicality, which means the situation. You want to make sure you’re being heard correctly. Here are a couple of quick examples. Have you ever seen someone in Zoom who’s got themselves all pulled in together to ensure they hear you? Well, first off, that scrunched-up body is a mistake.

What’s the hack? I will sound like your fourth-grade teacher: sit up, pull your shoulders back, and smile a little. What’s happening? The airflow from your vocal cords, vocal folds, and larynx enables the airflow to come through, so you don’t have to worry about raising your volume. This is your natural; I call it your middle voice. It’s typically here.

Because if your upper register is here and your lower register is here, I want you somewhere in the middle, that easy conversational voice. If you get out of it, if you’re up here, that’s okay. It’s an easy fix. Bring yourself back to the middle. Why? It’s your most engaging, genuine, authentic voice. And remember, the key is it’s your most authentic, engaging voice.

Optimizing Your Body Language for Effective Communication

It’s not the tonality that I’m worried about. It’s the authenticity in the way that you sound. So, you’re in front of your computer. It’s easy; make sure you’re sitting up straight. Just make sure you’re centered in a way that you’re comfortable. Keep your hands and your body language around you. All of this plays badly on a Zoom screen. I have to watch that for me. But the fact is, the physicality is in your voice. Remember the science connecting to your body and voice because you want to sound authentic and correct. So there you have it. There are a few basic techniques to help you get your message received. By receiving your message, I hope you become a wildly popular podcast host or guest, everybody wanting you and needing more.

I can use my techniques to ensure I sound true, correct, and authentic. Thank you for investing the time with me today. I’m John Duffin, and I hope you have a fantastic day.


About John Duffin

John Duffin is an acclaimed public speaker who has spoken in front of live audiences (event speaker, Host/ MC) and gotten strong reviews. Mr Duffin has also spoken in front of Universities (Temple U), Sports Teams (St. Elizabeth’s University Baseball Team Eagles Club) and well as Corporate off-sites. Each speech and presentation is customized to the specific audience for maximum impact and proven results.

As the creator and host of the Your Message Received podcast and voice training platform, John Duffin has enhanced the personal brands of executives, individuals and businesses through impactful storytelling and empowering consulting approach. Strategic storytelling runs in his veins after 30+ years of working with beloved brands in highly competitive categories across the media landscape. Gravitating to the intersection of culture, content, and storytelling, his career spans being in front and behind the camera of linear broadcast, radio, digital, streaming, and audio ecosystem platforms. John Duffin is a culture forward, purpose-driven media executive who believes in the exciting, limitless impact and responsibility that brands have, especially through the lens of inclusion and equal representation. JD has been featured on Social Media Livestream Programs “Your Monday Motivation”, “The Be Kind Show”, “Neighborhood Spotlights”, “All-Stars Network”, “Go Get It” Social Media Show”

JD also received Best in Class recognition from Univision Communications for curating and delivering a critical client presentation- captured on video to share within the company, as well as being featured on the Philadelphia Ad Club magazine. Mr. Duffin continues to galvanize audiences to achieve more and speak authentically.

At DuffinMedia- we optimize your communications ability so that you’ll… optimize your life!


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