Have you ever thought about the similarities between being a podcast host and a public speaker?
If you stop and think about it, there are several things in common between presenting a keynote on stage at an industry conference and sitting behind the mic to record a podcast episode.
So, if you’re looking to improve the quality of your show, it may make sense to study up on what it takes to be a great public speaker.
This week, I want to share a few tips I think every podcaster can learn from some of the world’s greatest public speakers.
Lesson #1: Know Your Audience
Whether you realize it or not, most - if not all - public speakers have an idea of who their audience will be long before they take the stage and give a keynote presentation.
The greatest public speakers know that the key to connecting with their audience and crafting their message so that it addresses their specific needs is by getting to know and understand their audience.
Even if they’ve given that speech at 50 different events - you know they are speaking directly to you, addressing your specific challenge, and helping you figure out a solution to your specific problem.
They are speaking directly to you - because they’ve done their homework. They’ve researched their audience long before they spoke the first sentence on stage.
And, just like speaking on stage, if you decided to start a podcast to raise brand awareness, increase your exposure, and become known as an industry expert or authority in your field, you are using your podcast as a marketing tool.
And what’s the first rule of marketing?
Know your audience.
Create a customer persona, and create your marketing campaigns around this persona.
By keeping your audience persona - your listener persona - in mind, you can make sure you are creating content that is interesting to them.
Lesson #2: Create a Strategy
No great public speaker takes the stage without first preparing their content.
While you may not need to be as thorough in your “presentation” behind the mic, a little preparation and planning never hurt anyone. It can go a long way to ensuring you stay on point throughout each episode.
Once you’ve figured out who your target audience - your listener persona - is, now it’s time to come up with some topic ideas.
While you’re thinking about your listener persona, think about some of the topics that would be most interesting to them.
Make a list of 30 to 50 topics. (The more, the better!)
Don’t worry too much about drilling down into the specifics - there will be plenty of time for that later. First and foremost, you need a good brainstorm session to get your creative juices flowing.
Once you’ve made this list, insert those ideas into a spreadsheet so you can continually (and easily) refer back to it and add to it later. I advise using Google Sheets so you can easily access the file from any device.
For a more detailed explanation of how to develop a content strategy, you can check out our related post: How to Create a Killer Content Strategy for Your Podcast.
Lesson #3: Be Authentic
People relate to people. This is why some public speakers crack jokes or “cut loose” a little while on stage. Not only does it break the ice, but it also sets the mood and tone for the content they are about to deliver.
Even though your audience can’t see you when you are recording your episodes (unless you’re doing a videocast), your authenticity - or lack thereof - will still shine through in your voice.
Unlike public speakers, podcasters connect with their audiences on a regular basis through their audio content.
Keeping up with a fake persona on a regular basis can be quite challenging. There may be some days you simply do not feel up to it.
Likewise, having a designated “behind the mic” voice can be hard to maintain on a regular basis. Plus - by being authentic, you will attract more leads for your business while growing your audience. After all, isn’t that why you created a podcast for your business?
Lesson #4: Use an Outline - Not a Script
Can I be honest with you for a moment? When I first joined a few Facebook communities for podcasters and to connect with other business owners, I saw someone comment that they were using a script to record their podcast episodes - especially for their solo shows.
Someone else said they use a teleprompter to help them while recording.
Being the extreme introvert that I am, at first, I thought that would be a great solution to my problem - to create a script for any live or pre-recorded content that I wanted to do for my business.
So - I tested this theory a few times.
My first attempt was for a video introduction in one of the groups. (Yeah - I’m that extreme!)
I’ve also been interviewed twice on two different podcasts and in one, I didn’t script my answers (mostly because I didn’t know what they would be ahead of time). The other, I had an opportunity to script.
Want to know what I learned from this experiment?
In the unscripted show, I sounded more genuine, more authentic, more fun, and more engaged.
In the scripted show and video, I sounded very disconnected; focusing on sticking to my script than entertaining the audience.
Although public speakers may have access to teleprompters during their presentation, many - if not most - of them rarely ever use it to read a script.
Instead, they use an outline to present their content authentically and connect with their audience on an intimate level while staying on topic throughout their presentation.
Lesson #5: Practice - But Don’t Focus on Perfection
Whether you’re giving a speech or recording a podcast, practice truly is the key to continuous improvement.
Your 100th episode will always be better than your first.
But, don’t get lost in analysis paralysis - or try to achieve perfection.
Embrace mistakes. It’s part of the learning process.
Remember, you can always edit out bloopers and mistakes in post-production.
Perfection isn’t the goal.
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