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

How Podcast Guests Can Engage Listeners and Influence Podcasters

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

One of the most useful and important books ever written on connecting and influencing people was Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People but it’s old, the examples are old and even the modernized version is old. In this post, Johnny Ball goes through key principles from How to Win Friends and Influence People that apply to us in the world of podcasting that we could be using to land more appearances and deeper networking connections and how we can use them in 2022 and beyond.



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Would you like to get booked as a podcast guest more often? Would you like to be able to establish rapport with podcast hosts more quickly?

Would you like to receive good reviews and even recommendations from the hosts and be invited back more often?

I hope your answer to all these questions is Yes.

There is a book that was written over 70 years ago and is still considered a masterpiece about influencing and persuading others. You have probably heard of it or even read it.

The book is called How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

My own experience as a podcast host and as a guest is that my best episodes are the ones where there is a good connection between the host and the guest.

You may have noticed this too.

To get the best out of yourself as a podcast guest, you need a strategy, time and commitment. You can go about it half-heartedly, or you can be there to win it.

So I’d like to take you six of the 30 principles from Carnegie’s book that I think podcast hosts and guests should pay particular attention to.

How To Win Friends and Influence People
This post is a transcript of one of the presentations from our PodPros Virtual Quarterly Event. Click here to learn more.

Principle One: Give Honest and Sincere Appreciation

If you are simply trying to get into as many podcasts as possible, this principle might be a little tough for you.

However, if you value quality and fit over quantity, then this is entirely doable. And even necessary.

Listen to the shows you want to go on and leave a review. You can do this with Apple Podcasts or Podcast Chaser. On Spotify, you can leave them a rating.

To do so requires listening to at least 30 seconds of the show.

When you connect with the host (by this time you should already have a good idea of why you deserve to be on their show), offer a sincere compliment on their podcast.

If you can not think of one, you might want to reconsider why you are applying to be on the show. When you tell the podcast host why you want to be on their show, offer genuine comments.

Sycophantic comments are more likely to turn people off. Do not just hang up after the show. Stay for the debrief and ask questions.

See if there are ways you can be of further service to them. If you know people who you think could also be a great guest on this show, this is a great opportunity to share that.

One of the biggest benefits of podcasting is that you can grow your network. So do not treat hosts like a one-night stand that you want to get rid of as soon as they are no longer useful to you.

Sure, you will not want to stay in touch with every single person you connect with, but for those you do know, it’s definitely worth cultivating those relationships from the get-go.

Principle Two: Create an Eager Desire in the Podcast Host

Whether we like it or not, we are emotional beings. That’s not to say logic and rationality are not important. They are, but in reality, it’s our emotions that drive most of our actions and responses to things.

How many people do you ever see get excited about something because it’s logical? Probably not very many.

Podcast guests tend to offer what they want rather than what is actually needed or what is in demand. I see this all the time with people who want to be guests on my show.

They tell me all the reasons why they want to be on the show, their successes, and why they are so amazing.

That’s all great, but still, I ask myself, “Why should I invite you to my show? What are you going to do for me? What are you going to do for the big why of my show?”

Your goal as a guest is to convince the host to feel excited about you on their show. Here are some of the things that will help you do that:

Let them know you have listened to some of their shows.

Look at the episode titles and the entire catalog and see where you can add unique value. Invite them to talk about a topic that you think will be exciting to them.

Remember that sometimes, and in certain circumstances, it may be enough to send a standard podcast pitch and ask for a guest role on a show. In those situations, you should definitely do that.

But there will be times and shows and opportunities where you really want to go the extra mile. You don’t want to be too casual about it.

podcast host and guest chatting and then becoming friends

Principle Three: Take a Genuine Interest in Other People

You may have heard that the best way to be interesting to others is to be interested in them.

Do you have any idea how many people apply for my show but do not show one bit of interest in me, my show, or my audience?

They only focus on themselves.

They are not mean, but rather a little self-absorbed. You can be either transactional or relationship-oriented in your networking, but only one of the two is likely to make people welcome you.

Relationship research shows that healthy relationships are characterized by mutual kindness and generosity.

This is true not only for your relationship with your partner but for pretty much any healthy relationship.

It pays to do a little research before your podcast recordings. It does not always have to be a lot, but here is something that experienced interviewers can tell you.

If you want to get to a good rapport faster, take an interest in your host, ask a few questions, break the ice a little, have a little fun, and be playful.

Of course, do not get too personal or inappropriate here, but ideally, ask him about himself and not just typical small talk.

Try to greet the host like a long-lost friend.

Even if you have only exchanged a few emails, you’ll be amazed at what this can do for your rapport.

Principle Four: Smile

Even though podcasts are audio only, I wonder if you think you can tell if a person is smiling or not just from their voice. It seems that you generally can.

There are different types of smiles.

  • There is a genuine smile because you are happy. For example, when your partner suggests ordering a pizza tonight.
  • There’s a full smile when, for example, you have just discovered there are anchovies on your pizza, but you do not want to make a fuss about it.
  • Then there’s the cheesy smile, like when you just tried a stuffed crust pizza for the first time.
  • And then there’s the fake smile, like when your mother-in-law just ate the last slice of pizza, but you say you are perfectly happy with it.

There are physical actions that trigger emotional responses and state changes.

For example, if you sit up straight instead of slouching, you are more likely to feel better and be more attentive.

Smiling triggers a release of neuropeptides that make you more relaxed, as well as dopamine, serotonin and endorphins that make you feel good.

It gives an air of confidence and serenity that quickly creates a level of trust and, much like a yawn, is infectious.

Smile as you record podcast

Principle Five: Be a Good Listener

We have heard this statement countless times, but it’s important that you listen to the questions that are actually asked of you.

Very often you see politicians on TV, answering the questions they want to answer, not the questions that are being asked.

As a podcast guest, you can not afford to do that.

Some presenters do not always ask a direct questions but initiate a conversation. You need to pay attention to where they leave gaps and clues for you to jump in and add your thoughts to the conversation.

Also, do not be the guest who just keeps talking. I often find myself struggling to say a word or ask a guest a question.

I end up speaking over them or having to interrupt or just waiting for them to finish speaking when I would rather loosen up a bit.

So listen carefully and be attentive because most of the time when you record shows, you are probably going to be on video.

Pay attention to what you are saying on the screen.

Do not just look at yourself or check to see if your hair is okay and things like that. You need to take cues from the podcast host as if you were in a live interview on TV.

Principle Six: Make the Podcast Host Feel Important

Even before you connect, leave a review for the shows you like. Share some of their clips on your social channels and interact with their content.

If they are doing a live stream, show up and interact with them so they know who you are.

Those things really work. Reciprocity is a powerful force that increases your chances.

So use it well and sincerely.

Do not leave great reviews for crappy shows just because they have a large audience you want to get in front of. Stay classy.

Do not go overboard with flattery when you are booked as a guest.

Very superficial comments like “I like your watch” or “you have a nice shirt or blouse” can come off as fawning and maybe even a little creepy at times.

A Recap:

First, show honest and sincere appreciation.
Second, arouse an eager desire in the other person.
Three, show sincere interest in other people.
Four, smile.
Five, be a good listener.
Six: Make other people feel important and do it sincerely.

Some of these things may seem like they take some work and time, and they do. A little extra effort and that’s not a bad thing. They say the extra mile is never crowded.

If you want to make a big name for yourself as a podcast guest, to be invited back and to be approached and recommended by hosts more often.

There are 24 other principles in How to Win Friends and Influence People that can help you in other areas of your life if you follow and apply them.

Exceptional people excel, and I know you have what it takes to be exceptional too.

About Johnny Ball

Podcast presentation coach & host of Podfluence – Build professional authority with podcasting. Semi-pro speaker and skeptic, former flight attendant. If you like a bit of dry English humor, philosophy, funny stories, and chats about influence and persuasion or podcasting for business, I could be the guest you’re looking for. The James Cordon of podcasting (A chubby English guy who thinks he’s funny and likes to sing in the car.)