Guest Podcasting - The Surprising Benefits of Being Underprepared

marketing podcasting Dec 21, 2022
Guest podcasting women on microphone

Guest podcasting is one of my all-time favorite things to do.

As the host of the Heads Together podcast, I’m used to being the one asking the questions, so whenever I’m invited to be a guest on someone else’s podcast I jump at it.

I was interviewed by the fabulous (and fierce) Hayley Maxwell yesterday for her podcast, Fierce Impact. I’d had to cancel our original recording session due to the fact that I live in the middle of nowhere and have some kind of crap vintage WIFI…

So, it had been an age since I initially completed my wonderful host’s intake form, and to be honest, I had zero recollection of what I’d put on it. Of course, I hadn’t saved a copy or anything sensible like that, so before she admitted me into the studio I was sitting here praying that she’d begin by summarising what we were about to talk about. She didn’t at first… I can only assume she thought I’d have prepared properly as any decent guest would do.

I had to come clean and admit that I was wholly unprepared for the interview as I couldn’t remember what we’d planned to talk about.

She was very gracious about it and happily referred to the (extensive) form I’d completed and shared the answers I’d given with me.

Now, I refuse to take full responsibility for this complete blind spot in my memory - I blame menopause. Seriously, I forgot my son’s middle name the other day! True story.

Luckily, the topic I’d suggested in the intake form was one I’m bloody obsessed with - rewilding your business - so my (close to) panic over my lack of preparation receded a little.

What I was even less prepared for was the way the interview went.

This blew me away...

It felt SO comfortable. I’m not one to suffer from nerves before being interviewed, but I am normally running through a mental checklist of the points I’ve prepared, that I want to be sure to cover. This was different. There was no trying to ‘shoehorn’ my prepared ‘clever’ answers into the conversation. Rather, I was able to be fully present, listen carefully to her questions, then answer freely, naturally, and honestly.

With no time to prepare what I wanted to say, there was no opportunity to overthink things.

When it comes to guest podcasting, normally what happens is as soon as we start to prepare to be interviewed, we begin trying to second guess the way what we’re about to say will be received.

Am I making this sound too complicated? Am I dumbing it down too much? Am I being too serious? Am I being too flippant? Will I offend anyone? Will they think I’m boring?

This can lead to us coming across as inauthentic. It’s not intentional, but it IS a thing. I can spot it a mile off in others and it can put me off a podcast faster than anything else. Being over-rehearsed as a guest gets in the way of a natural, flowing conversation between you and your host.

Scripted podcasts are my nemesis. I’m sure this is simply a personal preference, but nothing will get me hitting ‘mark as played’ faster than a fully scripted, read-aloud episode.

Back to guest podcasting though, if it’s in your marketing plan for 2023, (and if it’s not, why not? It’s a phenomenal way to introduce yourself to a wider audience), then I urge you to limit how much you prepare for the interviews.

Allow yourself to be present, listen deeply and be a REACTIVE guest. Listening intently to the questions and giving your spontaneous, honest, authentic answers makes for a powerful interview.

If guest podcasting is on your agenda for 2023 then you can apply to be my guest on the Heads Together podcast HERE.

And, if you’re a podcast host whose audience loves a dose of entrepreneurial real-talk, then I’d love to be your guest - reach out to me at [email protected] or via LinkedIn.