Conflicting advice plagues podcasters. Be yourself, but also follow this exact format, or you won’t have a successful show. Resolving that conflict isn’t easy. But it starts by trusting your talents.
From a young age, we’re taught not to be showoffs. Clearly, some people ignore this social edict, relying on others obeying that social conditioning so that their own antics shine through.
In other cultures and countries, showing off is more than a minor foul. It’s deeply frowned upon to the point of social ostracising. Even here in the weirdness that is America today, society whispers at us all the time… no one likes a showoff.
At the risk of offending my late grandmother who was the physical embodiment of that notion, that doesn’t really cut it in podcasting.
Today, I’m going to ask a challenging question for you to ponder over the weekend: Are you showcasing your talents on your podcast?
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Showcasing Your Talents Is Not Showing Off
Quick aside: Today is my 17th podivesary! Yes, I started podcasting on October 14, 2004. And today is Oct 14, 2021. My goodness, that is a long time.
Here’s another way to think about the question: Do you know what it is that you are really, really good at? And are you leaning into those skills when you podcast?
I’m constantly surprised how often this isn’t the case.
All too often I see podcasters, even experienced, seasoned podcasters, credulously following a format or playbook that was developed by someone else, ostensibly to be more successful more quickly. Not that there’s anything wrong with taking inspiration from someone else. In fact, I think that early-stage podcasters should be a lot like teenagers. But instead of trying on different styles, attitudes, and weird worldviews; fledgling podcasters should try on different formats, play different roles on a show, and explore a wide range of topics.
I don’t know about you, but the show I’m doing today (this one) is ] vastly different than the one I started with 17 years ago.
But I digress. Let me turn that question into a statement: Don’t be afraid to showcase your talents as you podcast. And yes, you do have talents. Talents you can and should be showcasing as you podcast!
Podcasting requires a lot of different skills. You need to be competent at all of them (or hire others who are), sure. But you are better at some of those skills, perhaps just one of those skills. You may have a natural talent for something. Or you may have worked hard and got lots of training to be good at something.
So… what is that? Well, I can’t answer that for you. No one can. That’s something you have to figure out. But if you can get past that social conditioning and really do a self-examination, you’re sure to find an aspect that you are, if not the best at, then at least quite good at.
Knowing what you’re good at and leaning into it can even make up for other deficiencies. Like my interview skills, for example. I’m not a good listener. My own inner monologue dominates, and I have to really, really work at not getting ahead of the conversation. So that makes me kind of a rotten interviewer, at least in the classical sense.
But I’m a pretty good researcher. So on the rare occasion when I am asked to interview someone, I’m usually able to come up with questions the guest hasn’t been asked before. And that always makes for a good interview, even though I probably miss a lot of excellent follow-up questions.
Maybe your voice has a certain quality or a timbre that makes it interesting to the audience. I say lean into it! If you’ve been told repeatedly that you have an infectious laugh, you should laugh on your podcast. That doesn’t mean you can only do a comedy podcast. Not at all! But assuming your laugh is actually infectious and not irritating (a fine line, for sure), go ahead and let that laugh out from time to time-at least once an episode-as you lean into it.
Are you a skilled musician? If so, are you putting any of your music into your podcast episodes? And if so, are you letting people know that it’s your music adding depth and texture to the show? You should do that. You may find an audience who appreciates that little something special, and it may open the door to other opportunities. Let it out!
Whatever it is that you are good at, either naturally or as a product of effort and training, don’t be afraid to let that talent shine through on your show.
That’s much more likely to be a pathway to success than following some arbitrary plan or format that someone else gave you. Especially if thousands of other people are following that same “proven” playbook. There’s nothing special about that.
But there is something special about your show. And that’s you. So showcase that!
Get Some Swat At She Podcast LIVE
The opening party for She Podcast LIVE is tonight, and I’ll be there with my bag of goodies ready to hand out to any Podcast Pontifications listeners I encounter. So if you’re going, or if you know someone who is going; I won’t be hard to find. Say hi and I’ll give you a treat or two.
Podcast Pontifications is written and narrated by Evo Terra. He’s on a mission to make podcasting better. Links to everything mentioned in today’s episode are in the notes section of your podcast listening app. A written-to-be-read article based on today’s episode is available at PodcastPontifications.com, where you’ll also find a video version and a corrected transcript, both created by Allie Press. Podcast Pontifications is a production of Simpler Media. Find out more at Simpler.Media.
And I think this is going to be my move for 2022 as well: Show up to conferences with a bag of goodies that I give out to listeners who are also attending the same event. I’ll be like Santa… all year long!
You can help fund those goodies by visiting PodcastPontifications.com/value-4-value. Every dime (or Satoshi) I make from the show goes back into the show. Which means more cool gifts for listeners who I meet in real life! That could be you next year.
I shall be back on Monday with yet another Podcast Pontifications.