Podcaster Dave Jackson shares general communication insights for all of us, plus specific advice for podcasters, including the most common mistakes that podcasters make, the ideal length for a podcast, and how to refer to the listeners…
Link to printable shownotes: https://www.talkabouttalk.com/podcasts/#shownotes
- Andrea’s Introduction
- Interview Transcript
- Andrea’s Conclusion
3 Insights for PODCASTERS
1).TALK TO ONE LISTENER – Not “hey everybody” or “you listeners”
- Chances are, there’s nobody else in the car. And we all appreciate the one-on-one intimacy of podcasts.
- Stop saying “everyone” and “all you listeners,” and start saying, “You.”
2).WHAT’S THE IDEAL LENGTH FOR A PODCAST? – There’s no one right answer…
- We want to keep people begging for more, not wishing it would be over. So generally shorter is better,
- “There’s no such thing as too long, only too boring.” (Valerie Geller, author of Beyond Powerful Radio)
3).FOCUS ON THE LISTENER – Not on yourself!
- Serve your audience. Search your topic online and seeing what people look for.
- Unless you have a lot of insiders, “insider jokes” are not a good idea.
3 Communication Insights for ALL OF US!
1).TELL US WHERE YOU’RE HEADED – People don’t get on a bus unless they know where it’s headed.
- Whether you’re introducing a new podcast episode, running a meeting, or giving a speech, start by telling your audience why they’re there. Start with the punch line.
2).CONFIDENCE – We all have imposter syndrome!
- A few confidence hacks: practice (!), reminding yourself that you don’t have to be the world’s greatest expert (you just have to know more than your audience), act confident, and adopt a mantra or emulate someone else’s confidence. (For Dave it’s David Lee Roth, and the mantra is “It’s Showtime!”)
3).STORYTELLING – Let people get to know you by sharing personal stories
- When you share a little bit about yourself, your audience advances from knowing you, to liking you, to trusting
- Profit From Your Podcast book – https://amzn.to/35wIWKf
- Website: schoolofpodcasting.com
- Twitter: twitter.com/davejackson
- Facebook: facebook.com/schoolofpodcasting
- Instagram: instagram.com/schoolofpodcasting
- LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/davejackson/
- School of Podcasting episode with Andrea focused on Personal Branding
- Beyond Powerful Radio by Valerie Geller: https://amzn.to/3cPcNBH
- Make Noise by Eric Nuzum: https://amzn.to/3xtcqEB
- WE Have Cancer podcast with Lee Silverstein – https://wehavecancershow.com/
- Talk About Talk CONFIDENCE episode #58
Dr. Andrea Wojnicki & Talk About Talk
- Website – https://talkabouttalk.com
- Free Weekly Email Newsletter – https://talkabouttalk.com/blog/#newsletter-signup
- Email – Andrea@TalkAboutTalk.com
- Book Andrea for a free 20min “communication skills training” consult
- Andrea on LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreawojnicki/
I have good news and bad news. The good news is that anyone can get into podcasting. The bad news is that anyone can get into podcasting. Hmmm…
Greetings and welcome to Talk About Talk. I’m your communication coach, Dr. Andrea Wojnicki (please call me Andrea!)
Whether you’re an ambitious executive, looking to catapult your career by improving your communication skills, or maybe you’re a podcaster? Either way, as long as you have a strong growth mindset – you’re always looking to learn and improve your communication skills, then you’re in the right place.
At Talk About Talk, we focus on communication-skills-topics like personal branding, listening confidence, and storytelling. This is the critically important stuff they don’t teach you in school. It’s what takes you from a B+ to an A+ in whatever it is you do. And if you check out the TalkAboutTalk.com website, you’ll find online corporate training, 1-on-1 coaching with me, online courses, the free weekly communication-skills newsletter, and, of course, the archive of this bi-weekly podcast. I really hope you’ll go to the website and sign up for the free weekly communication skills training newsletter. But you can choose what works for you !
Welcome to Talk About Talk episode number 80! In this episode, you’ll hear my conversation with someone whom I’ve learned SO MUCH from. Podcaster Dave Jackson, of The School of Podcasting. Dave’s been podcasting since 2005, and he’s coached hundreds, no thousands of podcasters. So of course he has great advice for podcasters. But much of this is relevant for everyone – these learnings can be applied to improve all of our communication in other contexts too!
A few months ago, Dave interviewed me about how podcasters can create a personal brand. That was Episode #765 (yes 765!) on The School of Podcasting. I’ll leave a link to that episode in the shownotes.
OK – let’s get into this. I’m going to formally introduce Podcaster Dave to you now, and then we’ll get right into the interview. As always, you don’t need to take notes, because I do that for you. I simplify and summarize everything for you at the end of the episode. For this episode, I’ll summarize at the end with 3 key insights for podcasters, and then 3 key insights for ALL of us. And you can always access the episode shownotes on the talkabouttalk.com website. So just keep doing whatever you’re doing – driving or walking or housework, or whatever.
Alright – let me introduce Dave. Dave Jackson launched the School of Podcasting in 2005. He has been helping people understand technology for 20+ years as a corporate trainer and podcast consultant. Dave Jackson was inducted into the Podcasting Hall of Fame in 2018. He is the author of the book, “Profit from Your Podcast: Proven Strategies to Turn Listeners into a Livelihood.” Over the years he has launched over 30 different podcasts with over 4 million downloads.
Dr. Andrea Wojnicki: Thank you, Dave, so much for joining us here to talk about communication skills and what you’ve learned from podcasting.
Dave Jackson: Oh, thanks for having me, I’m looking forward to this.
AW: Alright, let’s start with what you see as the most common mistakes that podcasters make in terms of their communication. So we’re talking about the basics here. What do you see novice podcasters doing wrong in terms of their communication?
DJ: A lot of times, it’ll be an interview, or you’ll have I always call it, you know, three guys in the basement talking about booze or whatever. But the problem is, is the curse of knowledge. And this is where Ernie and Bert know a whole bunch about each other. And they’re all talking about remember that thing with the orange Gatorade, and then the other guys like, hahaha and nobody has a clue what you’re talking about. But they’re having a great time. And I’m like, Look, if you want to have fun in the basement, talk to your friend, by all means, but just don’t look at me and go, Why is my show not growing? And like because nobody knows what you’re talking about. I had one last night where I made it two minutes in before I finally said, That’s enough. And they said something about like, are you Brazilian? And he said no, I’m not Brazilian. And they both just broke out laughing and I’m like, I have no idea why that’s funny. But they can say Oh, dude, the Brazilian thing? Are you kidding me? And I’m like, Yeah, see you, you don’t realize that there’s a whole other group of people out here that don’t know about the Brazilian thing. And they just did two minutes of non stop inside jokes. And I was just like, yeah, that’s, that’s not gonna work.
AW: Well, so I’m thinking that maybe if it was Episode 100, and you had a massive following, And you audience shared your inside jokes that might be different, right?
DJ: Yeah, yeah, it can be realized, you’re still gonna, there’s always going to be new people that haven’t heard your show. And there, you kind of have your own little inside jokes. There’s a famous radio sports guy that has a whole other lingo with his audience. And that’s kind of half the fun when you first join, you’re kind of asking yourself, like, what does he mean by that? And so you’re kind of intrigued, like, What? What does he mean, a clone, what’s a clone? You know, and you go on and on. So that kind of pulls you into, you’re like, wait, I want to be on the inside, you have this weird fear of missing out going on. But a lot of times, it’s you know, you still have to have some things that I understand, to make me want to get the missing piece of the puzzle. But if they’re just no puzzle pieces, just clueless I’m just I’m clueless on what’s going on, then. Yeah, that’s not gonna work.
AW: Yeah, so one of my pet peeves. You know, when I was, I would say, especially when I used to work in strategic brand management, and people, we would be putting forth a brand strategy. And it would end up being about the brand instead of being about the consumer. And so I’m thinking about this, what you just said in that context, it’s like, when podcasters are so myopic, they’re thinking about themselves. They’re not thinking about their audience, right? And, I see people doing it in meetings. I hear people just like you do talking like that when they’re on podcasts. I hear people doing that when they’re interviewing other people, like you’re trying to get information from someone, but you’re talking about yourself the whole time. Give me a break. So I am with you. That is one of my pet peeves. But that leads me to my second question. What are your pet peeves when you’re listening to podcasts?
DJ: Well, that’s probably the first one, just you know, I’m I never remember once my backgrounds in teaching. So I find this podcast and it’s made for people that teach computers and I’m like, that is like a glove on my hand. And number one, it was horrible audio quality. And I think I lasted. I want to say it was something ridiculous, like, I remember seven. So it was either seven minutes or 17, I just remember was an insane amount. And the whole time, he’s just complaining about Bob Seger. And I just was like, and I just kept listening, thinking, well, surely, he’s going to quit talking about Bob Seger and get to the teaching, and I just eventually, I just was like, Okay, well, that’s, that’s enough of that. And I just got out. So that’s, that’s kind of a combo of both of them not getting to the point. And then really bad audio quality, where, you know, in 2005, when I started, people, were using this little stick microphone that came with your computer, and you could get away with that in 2005, but not now. And people love to, they’ll think you can record your podcast on a phone. And for the record, you can it just doesn’t sound any good. And they’ll put it on. speakerphone? And they’ll put it in the middle and you have four people around a table. And it sounds like you’re, you know, in the Lincoln Tunnel recording a podcast and yes, like, that’s just not gonna, gonna work.
AW: It sounds like exactly what it is.
AW: I’m with you on those two. But back to your point about getting to the point. I’ve had this conversation with other people in in several contexts, and I’ve been called out on it, you know, early in my career when I was giving a talk one of my first academic talks. One of the professor’s stood up in the back of the room after about 10 minutes and yelled, Andrea, what is your point? And I was like I’m getting there. No. NOW. So, so how quickly in a podcast episode, should we be telling the audience what the main point is or what the key learning is?
DJ: Somewhere in the first two minutes, you’re either going to get to the point or you’re going to tease the point one of the two. Because otherwise, you know, the fun little bumper sticker for this is, people don’t get on a bus unless they know where it’s going. And you are really asking them for their most prized possession. And that’s their time. And there’s nothing worse than when I listened to 13 minutes of a podcast and realize 13 minutes in, I’m getting nothing here and go up. There’s 13 minutes, I can’t get back. Let’s move on to the next one. So I think that’s one of the reasons you need to. And I see a lot of times that people forget, like right now you could probably get away with not even reading my bio, because people trust you, like Andrew is not going to bring on somebody who stinks. So when we I remember once I listened to an episode, and the person had just read their LinkedIn page, and it was like extremely, like, wow, just decorated person, and which isn’t horrible. But at the end of it, they said, Did I miss anything? And I was like, Are you kidding me? That’s your first question. So, if I have somebody on with a really long bio, what I like to do is explain why they’re on the show. When it comes to getting to the point, I always say Exhibit A is Netflix. If you ever watch a TV show on Netflix, at the end, there’s a button that says skip credits, which means skip the end. And when you click on that, it goes to the next episode, and skips the intro. And I’m like, so if you need more proof that people like to get to the point I give to you exhibit A Netflix so
AW: beautiful. I love that analogy. It’s totally relevant. I also love your metaphor about you’re not going to get on the bus unless you know where it’s headed. That is an very eloquent way of saying, respect your consumer respect your listener.
DJ: Yeah, absolutely. if you if you don’t deliver value, if you don’t know who your audience is, eventually, the people that are tuning in are going to go, I’m not getting anything out of this. And there’s only I don’t know, another 2 million podcasts to choose from, I guess all check out something else.
AW: Very, very well put Dave and I have this I have to confess something to you. I’ve listened to enough of your School of Podcasting episodes that I actually would have guessed that your answer to the pet peeve question would be when people start by saying, tell me a bit about yourself.
DJ: Oh, that’s true.
AW: Yeah, I was gonna mess with you and actually say okay, we’re here with Dave Jackson, Dave tell us about yourself.
DJ: Well, what I love about that is somebody because to me that just screams Hi, I didn’t do my homework, and I really don’t know who you are. But you have a pulse and you agreed to come on my show. So tell me a little bit about yourself. And at that point, I could say, well, I was born in Akron, Ohio, I was a paper boy at the age of 13. My dad’s name is john, I’m, you know, like, whereas if somebody goes, Hey, Dave, when did you When did you know you want to be a podcaster? Okay, number one, now we’re leading into a story versus Hey, can you go read your LinkedIn bio to me? So Right, right. Yeah, that’s always fun.
DJ: That would have been fun, though. But I would have laughed.
AW: You know, recently, I’ve been on a couple of other podcasts being interviewed by people that are quite professional. And it always shocks me when they say, why don’t you start by telling the audience a little bit about yourself? And I’m like, do they want to hear about my marketing background? Do they want to hear about me as a communication coach? Do they want to hear about my podcast, you know, and so I try to make it as short as possible so we can get to the meat of it. Which brings me to another question that I’m curious that I think to be honest, is relevant beyond the context of podcasting. So it’s, whether you’re conducting an online workshop, whether you’re running a meeting, whatever you’re doing, where there’s an audience, I feel like there’s some things that you have to get out of the way to really excel. Right? So one of them we’ve talked about, which is, we need to tell them what we’re going to tell them Give them the punch line, so they know why they’re sitting around and listening to us or watching us or participating. Are there other things that you try to get out of the way at the beginning? Because you know, what’s going to make it a great episode?
DJ: Well, I try to answer the question, why should we listen to this guy? Because again, there’s so many people listening, and this is a hard one to do, because you sound like you’re really full of yourself. But if you can somehow answer the question, why should so that’s why we start off podcasting since 2005. I’m your award winning all the fame podcast coach. Yeah, that’s a mouthful. Dave Jackson. And the reason I say that is A, how many people can say they’ve been podcasting since 2005? Yeah, one, I’ve won a couple awards, and I’m in the Hall of Fame. And I was like, Well, I guess I should probably say that, you know, it’s one of the things and I have had people friends of mine that say, you don’t realize you’re Dave Jackson, I go, what does that even mean? And they’re like, Oh, just you know. So I throw that out at the front to kind of say, Well, here’s, you know, here’s why I think you should listen to me kind of thing. Because the good news is anybody can start a podcast, the bad news is, anybody can broadcast. So you kind of have to answer that question a little bit of like, why should I listen to you?
AW: So you know, Dave, I think you’re a natural marketer, although, although you haven’t doing it since 2005. So it’s only taken you 16 is it? You’re a fast learner (haha) No, but what I was gonna say is you’re establishing the reason why, which is in a, in a brand positioning statement is your consumer benefit, and then you’re providing the evidence. So why am I listening to Dave about this? Or why am I listening to Andrea about this? I absolutely agree. So you’ve been doing this since 2005? How would you describe your evolution in terms of your personal communication skills, not just what you’ve seen other people doing?
DJ: it’s funny. My I just recently listened to my very first podcast, so I could just cringe all over again. Because I just recently just went over 16 years, and I started off my very first thing out of my mouth was, Hey, everybody. And I was like, Well, if I was coaching myself would be like, nope, if you’re doing the solo show, talk to one person, don’t talk to everybody because, because there’s nobody else in the car typically. So that’s one, I edit myself now, where back then it’s Oh, I’m telling you so cringe worthy. And I’m just I’m, I’m over and over and over. And I was like, the, I used to just riff off the top my head, I had my little mental bullet points, which does not work for me. I’m way too ADT to, to do that. And so I finally started writing down my bullet points. I’m not reading it I, to me, that just doesn’t work for me. But as I’m kind of, you know, riffing on it, and that whole nine yards, a lot of times, I will come up still with one more thing, but now I’m doing it as I’m recording it. Because it’s really the second time I’m going through it. So Ah, that’s probably the biggest thing that’s changed. And the other thing was when I first started, because everybody in their brother found some study that said, the average commute in America is 20 minutes. So we all agree that every podcast should be 20 minutes. And I went to my first event. And it was interesting, because I met people that actually listen to my show. And I would say, Oh, great, thank you so much for listening. And I’m like, What can I do to make it better? And I had three people say, Oh, that’s easy. It needs to be longer. Like I have a longer commute.
DJ: And I was like, that’s a lot of Dave. I’m like, Are you sure? They’re like, yep. I’m not diehard, on the length, I kind of like, here’s what I’m talking about. And I talk about it, and I look up and I’m like, Alright, 37 minutes, that’s good. And then the next week, it’ll be 28. And I’m like, I’ve never had really anybody complain, On occasion, I will let people know say, Hey, we’re gonna go long today, because I got a lot to talk about on this one. But I’ve never really had anybody say, Well, you know, Quit making them so long or Quit making them so short.
AW: So to your point about the length of them, I think I’ve heard you say in a few of your episodes that you get asked this question all the time. And your general answer is to keep it as short as possible, so that every minute is as rich as possible, again, or the audience, right?
DJ: Absolutely. I did an episode once on interviews, because I get asked about interviews all the time. So I said it was about how to be interviewed. Well, first, it was about how to conduct an interview, how to find guests, and then how to be interviewed. And so what ended up being I think, an hour and 10 minutes, which I think is my longest one ever. And I didn’t have anybody complain. In fact, I had somebody say, that was such a good episode, I had to pull over and take notes.
DJ: Valerie Geller has a book called Beyond Powerful Radio. And I love her quote, and that is there is no such thing as too long, only too boring. So yeah, I always try to make it as short as I can. Again, I don’t want people fast forwarding through stuff. Because it’s one of the things where people go, Well, there’s always a fast forward button. I’m like, Well, if it’s not, like if they don’t need it, they can fast forward then why is it in the podcast in the first place?
AW: I think a lot of people get sloppy … they’re not sloppy, lazy. They’re being lazy and not editing in it.
DJ: When I when I hear somebody say I’m going to keep it real. I’m not going to edit the mic. So let me get this straight there. There are movie editors. There’s TV editors, there’s magazine editors, magazine editors. Yeah, but everything out of your mouth is just gold. And I was like, I have a weird rule. And it’s just a weird thing that I do. If I do an interview, I am going to remove one question. I don’t know which one it is, but I’m gonna listen. And eventually I was like, You know what, that’s the one that either doesn’t deliver any value, or delivers the least amount or maybe I went on a tangent or something like that. And I just to me, I then say okay, well, what’s left is the good stuff.
AW: I think that is gold. Dave, I really think that’s gold. I’m trying to do that myself even with my newsletter because I know that my newsletter can tend to be a little bit wordy. And so now I’m writing it out. And then I pull a section. And I’m like, save that for another newsletter.
DJ: Yah, I just try to keep them short is to the point and anything that’s really weird I throw at the very end, I started putting bloopers at the end of my show. And that was another weird when I just, I guess I’m not afraid to experiment at times. And so I put some bloopers at the end. So many people said, I’m so glad you did that. And they go, why they said, I just thought you were perfect. And I was like, Oh, are you kidding me? No, far from it
AW: sounds awesome. It’s fun, too. It’s really fun. Yeah. So as you’re going through this list of things, other than going back to edit what you’ve recorded, I’m thinking that all of the things you’re talking about, so not typing out your whole script, and not winging it, but having the bullet points and talking to one person as opposed to you guys or you all, I think these communication insights or tactics are really relevant beyond podcasting, and I’m imagining you now up on stage at PodFest, or, you know, some big conference, and you’re giving a speech, how’s it different or the same when you’re onstage?
DJ: onstage, I miss being onstage with our good friend COVID. And I used to be a teacher, so I had a classroom, and I like to make people react in one way or another, whether it’s, I love to make people laugh. So if I can make them laugh, that’s kind of fun. So just the, the smile or the face of Did he just say that, or whatever it is, is fun. And the fact that you just it’s like adding another – it’s the difference between reading a book and hearing a book. Right, I now I still have tone of voice and I can, I can do — a dramatic pause if I want to. But now I can wave my arms. And I can do all sorts of stuff. And, you know, just ways to keep their attention. I remember once I was at Podcast Movement, and they have these, it looks like somebody just tied a bunch of tables together to make a stage. And I was explaining about how you are the goalie. And if somebody tries, you know, to give you content for your audience, it’s your goal to to jump up and SWAT and say not in my house. And I jumped up on the stage. And I’m not a small guy, but I’m not a huge guy. But it made a big old sound in the stage about crumbled, and I was like, okay, Note to self next time, you might want to, you know, do a quick once over… But on the other hand, it got everybody’s attention, which you need to because as you’re doing something on stage, my whole goal is I don’t want to see people looking at their phone. Because I know they’re gonna it’s hard not to. So I just tried to do that. And I walk around, and I pointed people, and I’m just, you know, for me the worst is when I walk in, and they go, okay, you’ll be talking there. And there’s the podium, and I’m like, Oh, great. Is there a wireless microphone? They’re like, no, but there’s a mic at the podium. And I’m like, so I have to stand at the podium. And they’re like, Yeah, and it’s just like, now I’m melting again.
AW: Oh, wow. So do you ever feel nervous?
DJ: Yes, it’s what’s what’s really funny about it, I mean, again, I i’ve, I used to teach classes every day. And it was, you know, to 20 people or whatever, you can actually time your watch by this now, five minutes before I go on, all the blood will leave my hands. They get super cold, and yet they sweat. It’s a really weird phenomenon. And when that happens, I just go, oh, yep, I got about five minutes. And it’s I’m perfectly fine with it. But I’m like, I’m, this is where I get nervous. But the minute they say please welcome to the stage, Dave Jackson. Then I hear this little voice in my head that just it’s David Lee Roth from one of his solo albums. And he goes, it’s showtime. And off I go.
AW: Beautiful, beautiful. You know, in in one of my most downloaded most popular episodes, we talked about communicating with confidence. And especially when you’re working your way up, you’re mentally preparing for a big event and going out on stage and I talk about pirating or borrowing someone else’s confidence. So I choose Madonna, you choose David Lee Roth.
DJ: well, and that kind of goes back to my earliest days of really being just – I got fired because I was so shy when I was a 15 year old grocery bagger. And my high school student or a high school teacher say, he goes, You need to be more like your friend Scott. And my friend Scott was like, monkey hour he was just the ultimate extrovert. And I was he might as well said, you know, grow a third arm. And I said, Well, he goes here, here’s what you got to do. And I said, Okay, he goes, just act like you’re outgoing. And I like why because yeah, if you act the way you want to be, someday you will be the way you act, which is basically fake it till you make it. Yeah. So I just started acting like I was outgoing, and eventually got used to it.
AW: Oh, I’m so glad I asked you that question. That was amazing. Okay, so I want to move on to some specific communication skills topics and just get your perspective on how to do these things, I guess, specifically in a podcast episode, and then maybe in general, if you have any other insights for other contexts. So the first one is asking questions, what makes for a great question?
DJ: I think, if you anything that requires thought, and it’s on one hand, you don’t want to blindside people, because then you have to rely on their skill to improv. And that usually just falls flat on its face. I just watched, it’s funny, you asked this I just watched there’s a YouTube channel where this guy interview celebrities, while they’re eating wings, and the more wings they eat, it’s called hot ones. The more they eat, the hotter they get. And he’s and he’s interviewing John Mayer. And he’s really getting into the summer and the guy asked really good questions. It’s just weird that every time John eats one, he’s like, Okay, this This one tastes like a tire on fire now and then going on. But he asked him, he goes, is there any musician on that’s, that’s famous, some sort of pop star that doesn’t get the respect they deserve for their songwriting capabilities? he goes, wow, that’s a good question. And he goes, and because the person is so good, give me a second, because I gotta think about this one. And you can always add it out that awkward pause. So I think that’s part of it. Eric Nuzum wrote a book. He’s a guy from NPR. He’s been in radio forever. Yeah. He has a book called Make Noise. And he said, when you’re when you’re interviewing somebody, try to think of what’s the one thing that only this person can answer. So when I interviewed him, I asked him, I’m like, how do you get a job in NPR? Because he’s the only person I’ve ever known. That’s been on NPR. So I think that’s part of it. I think good questions are, you know, something that makes people think, and the other one I think that helps, and I appreciate is when somebody doesn’t ask me, the same old and I don’t mind answering this question. But when somebody goes, What was it like in 2005? In podcasting, I always want to go, like, why are you? Who cares? It’s a history lesson. But you so there’s sort of certain questions I get all the time. But when somebody asked me one that I go, Oh, wait, this is, this is a different angle. I just appreciate it. So I think that’s, and it’s hard to say what that is, but I tried to go and listen to if somebody I’m interviewing, I try to find the interviews that they’ve been on. And then anytime I’m looking for a follow up question, and the host didn’t ask it, I write it down. I’m like, Oh, I want to go deeper into this. So that’s, that’s a great, that’s a great strategy.
AW: I like that. Yeah. But Dave, what’s the one question that only you can answer?
DJ: That’s cool. See, that’s a good question.
AW: I was listening to you.
DJ: Well, I mean, I can answer what was it like podcasting in 2005? Maybe that’s why people ask that. But to me, I’m like, What value does that give to your audience? You know what I mean? It’s like it’s a history lesson. But what’s it like,
AW: Don’t worry, I feel like this is this is not a question that I had thought of honestly, but you have personally experienced, but then you’ve also been exposed to so many podcasts as you’re coaching other people. Is there like a secret sauce, like a thing, a strategy, a philosophy that the successful podcasts all do and the ones that fail, don’t?
DJ: There’s a certain characteristic maybe, or an attitude. And when I see somebody that their primary goal is not downloads. It’s not money. It’s not fame. It’s not fortune. I want to serve my audience. When I’m like, they’re, again, almost on a mission again, that’s when they look at that and go, that person’s probably gonna, something’s gonna happen watch that person. Because they’re not worried about it. They’re like, No, I just want there’s, there’s this thing, and people need to know this. And I love talking about this. And I just am like, Alright, there you go. It’s not like, hey, when the opposite of that is when somebody says, so like, what’s the topic I should talk about? That would make the most money quickly. And you’re just like, you don’t need to start a podcast, you’re just gonna waste your time. So when I see somebody that Lee Silverstein comes to mind, Lee started off a show called the colon cancer podcast, because Lee has had stage four, stage four colon cancer, for going on 10 years now likely supposed to be dead. And, you know, when his doctor told him, You have cancer, he thought he had a death sentence. And he just decided he didn’t want to die and researched it. And you know, he’s had a couple of relapses and things like that. But he’s still here, and I love the guy. And he rebranded it to We Have Cancer because he realized that when you have cancer, guess what so does your family. And he just said, I want to make the podcast that I needed. When I heard the phrase, you have cancer.
DJ: And so he, over the years, he’s just kind of, it’s just gangbusters. My favorite thing is he reached out to a somewhat large cancer organization. It was like, Hey, I’m starting this thing. It’s cancer. Would you like to partner with me? And they’re like, podcasts? smodcast. What, huh? And then he started it. And it just kind of grew and grew and grew to where everybody’s like, Hey, have you heard about Lee Silverstein, and they kind of went back and knocked on his door and they’re like, Hi, Lee remember us? So I think that had to be such a great, I don’t know, just a great feeling to have somebody that kind of blew you off, come back and go, Hey, can we play with your podcast style?
AW: So awesome story. Yeah. So that’s that’s a great example. I love your answer to that question, which by the way, goes back to the very first point that you made serving your audience. It’s all about serving your audience.
DJ: Yeah, it has to be really in the in the clear picture you have of your audience. The better the content, the better the content, the more they’re going to tell their friends, the more they tell their friends, the bigger your audience, it just it snowballs. But it really starts with knowing your audience and then giving them what they want.
AW: Brilliant. Okay, so for my audience, I’ve heard that they love it when I create frameworks and lists for them. And so one of the things that I’ve done is I’ve based on all of the research in interviews and experience and reading that I’ve done about communication skills is I came up with three communication skills that I call the communication superpowers.
AW: listening, confidence, and storytelling. What do you think? What do you think about that list?
DJ: I think it’s awesome. That’s really that’s exactly. Because when you talk to anybody about interviewing, the key to a good interview is yes, it helps to do research, know who you’re talking to. And what’s the one thing I can ask them, but the biggest one is to just listen, I usually have a list of, let’s say, five questions, and it’s on the left hand side of my desk, and in front of me is another blank slab of paper with a pen that doesn’t click, and I’m sitting there and I’m just listening because somebody will say something about you know, I remember this time and I it was great because it went gangbusters in Iowa, and I just write down Iowa because I want to go back to whatever happened that made it go gangbusters. But in the meantime, I got to continue listening. And what happens is if you sit there and you’re, you’re telling yourself, okay, Iowa, and Meanwhile, the person is still talking, and then you go, Oh, wait, there’s another thing, Iowa and you know, the Mustang, okay, I owe a Mustang and like, wait, and now you can’t listen anymore. And so they get done. And they’ve just explained how they shot someone for snoring and you go, great. Question number two, and you’ve completely missed it. So if you can write these down just a word, you don’t need to write down the question because again, it’s it’s kind of crazy. If you just write down a word, there you go, then you can go back to that, and ask that question. So it’s, I always tell people, if you’re starting out, if you’re doing a podcast, do one of two things, interview your parents if they’re around, and you’ll thank me someday. And if they’re not around, and you have them, interviewed your kids, and really the reason for that is when you’re interviewing, it’s weird. You’re listening, as you’re trying to figure out what’s next. There’s just a lot going on in your head. So that’s listening is huge. The second one was
DJ: ok confidence. Yeah, confidence is tough. Because it’s it just, there’s no pill. There’s no way to just okay, if you just do this thing, you’ll be confident. Besides practice. And we all have imposter syndrome. We always are all thinking, why is anybody listening to me? Like who am I to say this stuff? Yeah, so that’s one. And we know, like, right now somebody has had value. Why? Because they’re still here, you know, they’re still listening. And but yet, somebody’s got Well, if you kind of don’t mind, if you think about like, if you want to share the show with somebody, maybe or I don’t know, if you want to know, if you just say Hey, thank you so much for listening. You’re still here. So thank you so much. So if you’re on a phone right now, there’s a share button somewhere on your phone, there’s a share button. And if you know somebody that would appreciate this, could you do me a favor and just share this with one person? And when you slow down and do that? It’s it’s so much different than Hey, can you do me a favor? My website is muted, even if you say it at warp speed, so nobody can hear it. You know, it’s just, uh, you know, so they say I’m laughing because I just said, you know, my buzz phrase.
AW: So I love your point about graciously thanking people, though. You know, I’ve been teaching I have three teenagers, and I’ve been trying to teach them to someone compliments you on something, you quickly and graciously thank them. And then you move on. Right, and you don’t dismiss it? Just
DJ: That’s hard. Yeah.
AW: And I remember one of the first Apple reviews that I got for Apple on Apple podcasts. The person said, I love at the end, how Andrea thanked us for listening so graciously. And I was like, Wow. So it really makes a difference.
DJ: And it takes practice. That’s something I’m still horrible at. And, you know, when I was married, my ex wife said, you don’t take compliments very well. And I’m like, she just knew me. And she’s like, Well, why don’t you just say, thank you so much. She goes, that’s really you know, she goes, you’re kind of dismissing them by not accepting the compliment. And I was like, oh, somebody would say, you know, Dave, you’re pretty funny. And I go out looks aren’t everything. Oh, you know? Yeah. And so again, I get a chance to make her laugh. And she’s like, I understand you’re trying to you know, it’s a funny joke. She’s like, but if you ever thought of just saying thank you, and I was like, I guess so it takes it’s a skill. And then the third one was storytelling.
AW: I know you’re big on storytelling
DJ: I love stories. I’ve been Yeah, I kind of did it is like, hey, let’s see what happens if I do this. This year. I just happened to start it on the first week. I started with a hopefully two minute or less story about me something I’m doing or whatever and how it’s then going to connect with whatever the topic is, So I shared a story about how I have two McDonald’s in my neighborhood. And I go to the one because it’s a better experience. And the other one, they never smile at me, I have to wait longer, blah, blah, blah, but the other one is actually farther away, I drive farther for a better experience. And I was like, so if you can give a better experience, you know, people might actually go there. And so I’ve had people when I get them kind of one on one, like, Hey, I kind of like that that thing you’re doing with the story at the beginning? Yeah. Saturday Night Live has kind of a cold open, if you think about it. Yeah. And I just thought the whole point is to get them sucked in, so that the phone is in their pocket, yeah, in or on the passenger seat or something so that when the show comes on, it’s too late to hit skip, or next show or whatever. So
AW: yes, I did an experiment, actually, with some corporate workshops that I was doing online workshops, where, with the same audience, a slightly different topic. But I did one workshop, where I kicked it off with a story, just a short story. But that illustrated the point, why we’re here. And then another workshop where I didn’t do that. And the difference between the two, and nobody in the second workshop said, I didn’t like it, because she didn’t tell that story. But but the participants in the first workshop did say she’s a great storyteller.
AW: So I know, it makes a huge difference.
DJ: Well, if you can use if you need to make a point, if you can make that point was some sort of story about you. Now, when you deliver a podcast on a regular basis, well, now you are seen as trustworthy, And if you’re delivering value, well, then they probably like you, because you’re making them smarter, you’re making them laugh, or whatever it is. And then if you kind of share a little bit about yourself, they kind of feel like they know, you know, there’s so there’s the whole know, like and trust thing, so that in the event, you are using this to promote a business or a product and you say, hey, I’ve got a new book out. They’re gonna like, Oh, I like her. She’s great. I’m gonna buy her book.
AW: Yeah. So before we move on to the five rapid fire questions, I just want to ask you, this is kind of a big question. But I’m really curious if you have any stories about mind blowing transformations of podcasters, where you actually witnessed someone who was horrific. And then they adopted certain strategies, and now they’re rocking it.
DJ: I wouldn’t say he was horrific. He just wreaked of, I’m nervous. He just, you know, he kind of needed. And this isn’t a bad thing. But he needed kind of his handheld along the way. He was always like, I just want to make sure I’m not messing up, I might, you know, that kind of thing. And his name was Lance. And so we got him up and going, and you know, who’s kind of getting that, and he, I hadn’t heard from him for probably about a year. And he came back and said, hey, there’s some new technology coming out, I need your opinion. Let’s set up a consulting call. And he was like, great. And I said, You want me to listen to an episode and kind of see what’s going on? He goes, Oh, that would be great. And I hit play. And it was again, what did I hear – confidence!
DJ: much more comfortable behind the mic. He just, it just flowed. Whereas before, it was kind of timid. And this was confidence. And it just showed in, I was trying to think like, well, what’s he doing differently? or How did this happen, or whatever. And it was just a matter of rational repetition. Just doing it and finding out that, you know, I was kind of joking, nobody’s gonna punch you in the face. And nobody had punched him in the face. And he actually had people that were, you know, emailing him and saying, that was great. I love that. And he was helping people. And he kind of all of a sudden, you go from well, who would listen to me. So you’re worried that you’re not gonna have any audience. And then all of a sudden, this thing happens and people start listening to you. And that then makes you freak out. You’re like, well, what, but now people are listening to me. So I have to be careful with what I say or I’m not, you know, you think about this. Now you’re worried about the audience. You know, there’s an audience of listening to me. And he just kind of felt natural now behind the mic. And he knew what he was talking about, because I told him, me. He was an expert in the field, it was all about home health care, and taking care of, you know, aging parents and things like that. And this is a guy that’s been in that business forever. I’m like, you’re an expert. You know, he’s like, Well, yeah, but there are other people, but there’s always gonna be other people. Right? But one of the things when I was a teacher, you don’t have to be the expert, you just have to know more than your students. You know, so. So that was that was one that I was like, when I just remember hit play. And I was like, is this the same guy? Just the confidence that just ooze out of the speakers.
AW: That must have been very satisfying for you to as a coach and a teacher.
DJ: It was because, you know, he did all the hard work, but there’s a little bit of my thumbprint on that. So it was kind of fun.
AW: So do you have any general advice that maybe one thing that you would share in terms of what podcasters should focus on in terms of their communication?
DJ: Yeah, I, it’s too, but it’s really one. It’s, it’s my bumper sticker act, answer. And that is spend $100 on a microphone and spend 100 hours researching your audience. And you can do all sorts of cool stuff. My one of my favorites is I will type in whatever the subject is on Amazon. And I’ll look for two and four star reviews. Because two will be like, this was pretty awful. Except they did do this. So now you’re letting you know, and four is like, well, I would have given it five, but they didn’t talk about this. So these are people that are probably going to be vocal, where one is like, Oh, this was awful. And five was like, best thing ever. Well, that’s not very helpful. So there are all sorts of tips and tricks that you can do, even if you don’t have an audience to figure out who is my audience, and what’s gonna make them go, Wow, that was a really good podcast. So really know your audience. And then from there, it’s just, you have to figure out why am I doing this? Here’s who I’m talking to? What can I talk about that’s going to hold their attention and get them to do whatever the heck my WHY is?
AW: respecting your audience. That has been a theme throughout this entire conversation. Amazing. Okay. Are you ready for the five rapid fire questions? I am horrible at rapid fire, but I will try. Okay, Question one. What are your pet peeves?
DJ: Plastic bags. And this this is because of my days as a grocery bagger. When it was I went, it used to be paper, that’s all we had, there was paper plastic, and I used to pack bags that were probably 10 to maybe 15 pounds, because paper could do it. And now I go to Walmart and they will double bag my bread and I’m like, What are you and then you get home. You can’t throw them away. And so you’re stuck with all these plastic bags until you get them someplace that will recycle them. So I to me, I hate by just the whole grocery food thing, because you have to do it. It’s either you know, you buy them, then you have to put them away, then you take them out, then you cook them then you throw them it’s just a whole thing. And in the process of all that you’re stepping over the plastic bags. So that’s a that’s one that I just go plastic bags, you know,
AW: so this is a side of you that I didn’t know well, Environmentalist Dave, Okay, question number two, what type of learner are you ?
DJ: Can we do all of the above? I used to be very visual, I loved to read. And then when audiobooks came along, I loved those. But I also I realize, my one of my superpowers used to be, give me a manual and some software and I’ll know it in a day, is once I would read it, but then when you really start messing around with software, that’s really where the rubber hits the road. Yeah. And then eventually, I just quit, like, I don’t need the book. Just give me the software. And I’ll start clicking on menus and figuring out what it does. So I think I’m a little bit of every thing. But I know I now if somebody said, Would you like this on a Kindle a physical book? And I’m like, do you have an audio book, because audio books I can put on, you know, 1.5 speed and listen while I’m walking around the block. And so I can multitask now where I can’t walk around the block, and even even on a Kindle, although I love I love Kindle books, because I can highlight them and then go in and see just what I’ve highlighted. I love that feature. But so I don’t know that I have a primary I think I kind of do all the above.
AW: So it’s fascinating to me that podcasters don’t all just answer this question with I’m auditory but like honestly, I’m visual. And here I am podcasting. So it’s interesting, isn’t it? Okay, question number three. introvert or extrovert?
DJ: Yeah, primarily introvert, but once I get to know you, you can’t shut me up.
AW: Got it.
DJ: It’s very weird.
AW: Question number four communication preference for personal conversations?
DJ: This might be because I’m in my 50s. I still love the phone. And it goes back to communication. Yes, I can type lol. But it would be much better if I can actually hear you laugh. Because then I can, it’s just to me, it’s, you know, there when you go from Word to, to audio. Now I’ve got tone of voice. We can both laugh together, you know. So I love the phone. Auditory, it is auditory. Because I’m sitting thinking like, why don’t I do FaceTime? And I’m like God, because all my friends are old and they can’t figure it out.
AW: Okay, this last Rapid Fire question. I’m actually really, really curious to hear your answer to. Is there a podcast that you find yourself recommending the most lately?
DJ: Um, probably the one I recommend the most, because I talked about his book I talked about earlier is Matthew Diggs has a book called Speak Up Storytelling. But there is another person that I love that guy to death. Get to the point. He has a lot of at the beginning of his show that I’m like, I really just want to hear you critique a story. But on the other hand, he’s sharing stuff about his family. And I feel like I know his kids and things like that. So that’s probably what I recommend.
AW: I hear you recommending the book a lot on your School of Podcasting. But I haven’t heard you recommending the podcast. I’ll definitely give that a listen. Thank you so much, Dave, it was great to ask you some questions that I think I’ve been wondering since I started listening to you. And I also want to thank you not just for sharing your time and your advice here, but also, for so generously sharing your advice every week with podcasters. I can tell you, I have listened to most of your School of Podcasting episodes. And I found it incredibly helpful. And I really appreciate it. And I thank you.
DJ: Well, thanks for listening. I really appreciate that. Thanks.
What a great conversation. Thanks so much to Dave. Doesn’t he have a fantastic voice? And you can really tell Dave practices what he preaches All the stuff he encourages in his podcasts and all the stuff he coaches his clients to do – he’s doing it too.
You can tell he LOVES this podcasting gig. And did you hear his answer to my question about “what’s the secret sauce? What’s that thing that sets apart successful podcasters?” He said,
There’s a certain characteristic maybe, or an attitude. And when I see somebody and their primary goal is not downloads. It’s not money. It’s not fame. It’s not fortune. It’s more like I want to serve my audience. Well that person is probably going to go far. Something is going to happen. Watch that person.
That’s probably true. That also sounds like Dave to me! But perhaps what’s most impressive is that Dave keeps it fresh, even after 16 years. Did you catch what he said when he was talking about adding bloopers at the end of his episodes? He said, “I guess I’m not afraid to experiment.” So whether youre considering starting a podcast or whether youre a seasoned podcaster, podcaster Dave has lots of relevant advice for you.
So this conversation covered relevant insights for all of us in our communications, whether you’re in front of a microphone, on stage or in a meeting.
Now as promised, I’m gonna briefly summarize this episode. I’ve synthesized this conversation down to three main points for podcasters in particular and then three main communication insights for all of us. OK, first for podcasters.
- Do you remember when Dave told us about listening to his very first podcast episode? The first thing he said in that podcast episode was, hey, everybody! 16yrs later, as a podcast coach, he points out that you’re not talking to everybody, you’re talking to just one person. Chances are, there’s nobody else in the car. And we all appreciate the one-on-one intimacy of podcasts. So podcasters need to stop saying “everyone” and “all you listeners,” and start saying. “” got it?
- The second piece of advice for podcasters is about the length of our podcasts. How many minutes should they be? This is a very common Q that podcasters ask. I’ve heard Dave talking about this on the school of podcasting many times, and I completely agree we need to edit our podcast down to be as short as possible. We want to keep people begging for more, not wishing it would be over. So generally shorter is better, Dave quoted Valerie Geller, who has a book called Beyond Powerful Radio and her quote is there’s no such thing as too long, only two boring. So if youre wondering whether you should cut something, then cut it.
- The third and last point for podcasters is about serving your audience. Being obsessed with your listener. Dave talks about searching your product topic online and seeing what people look for when it comes to your topic. He talks about not being myopic in your conversations and being focused on the listener – not on yourself. And when it comes to inside jokes, unless you have a lot of listeners, they are not a good idea.
So those are the three key insights for podcasters. First, stop talking to everybody and start talking to that one important listener. Two, when it comes to the length of your podcast, there’s no general guideline, but shorter is probably better, and three is about serving your audience. Being obsessed with understanding who they are and what they care about. This Third Point is actually an important communication strategy for all of us, isn’t it? It’s called being empathetic.
OK, now three communication insights that apply to all of us. The first point is that people don’t get on a bus unless they know where it’s going. Love that metaphor! Whether you’re introducing a new podcast episode or whether you’re starting a meeting, or whether you’re giving a speech, whatever the context, start by telling your audience why they’re there. Start with the punch line. As Dave so eloquently said, what you’re really asking them for is their most prized possession, and that’s their time.
The second communication insight for all of us relates to confidence. Dave absolutely agrees that confidence is a superpower. We all suffer from imposter syndrome. And he has this great point about. “There’s no pill you can take for confidence except practicing.” I agree, but I’d say there are some tactics we can use to improve our confidence. For example, reminding yourself that you don’t have to be the world’s greatest expert, you just have to know more than your audience, that’s true. There’s also the tactic of ACTING confident to convince not just others, but also others that youre confident. And of course there’s using tactics like adopting a mantra or emulating someone else’s confidence. In Dave’s case that someone else is David Lee Roth, and the mantra is “It’s Showtime!”
I talk a lot about these tactics in the CONFIDENCE episode #58. I’ll leave a link to that episode in the shownotes.
The third and last communication insight. Is storytelling. Dave said that with storytelling you can share a little bit about yourself, and let others get to know you. And then your audience advances from KNOWing to LIKEing to TRUSTing you. Whether you’re a podcaster or not, to know you better to like you better and to trust you more, and that is really important. And storytelling can help you get there.
So those are the 3 communication sights for all of us: (1) tell people where youre taking them, so they can decide whether they want to get on the bus, (2) boosting your confidence through practice and other tactics, and (3) using storytelling to encourage others to know, like and trust you.
Again, you can find a summary of these communication insights, as well as references and links to all the episodes we mentioned including the episode when he interviewed me about Personal Branding for The School of Podcasting), the transcript, and more, all on the talkabouttalk.com website.
I want to end by saying, hey thank you so much for listening. you’re still here. So thank you so much. So if you’re on a phone right now there’s a share button somewhere on your phone, there’s a share button and if you know someone that would appreciate this, could you do me a favor and just share this with one person?
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THANKS for READING – and Talk soon!
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