Michael Kennedy of Talk Python and Python Bytes fame joins Brian to talk about being a great guest and what to expect.
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Welcome to Testingcode a Podcast about software development and software testing.
On this episode, Michael Kennedy of Talk Python and Python Bites Fame joins me to talk about being a great guest, asked on a podcast and what to expect.
Even if you’ve never wanted to be on a podcast, you might learn some great tips. For instance, we talk about things like how to stand out, focusing on a topic, and how to ask a podcast host to be on their show. And these kinds of topics can be relevant for public speaking or guest blog posts or looking for job opportunities.
So even if you’ve never wanted to be on podcast, you might learn some great tips.
Thank you to DigitalOcean for sponsoring this episode. And actually the rest of the year, it’s really cool. Check them out at testinggo.com DigitalOcean and get $100 free credit for new users now on with the show.
All right. So, Michael, thank you for coming out of Test and Code. I’ve got a kind of a fun topic, a little bit Meta, but I’d like to talk to you and talk with you about some of the things about being a guest on a podcast. So I have asked lots of people, and sometimes I talk with people that I want to have on the show. They’ve never been on a podcast before.
The idea of getting in front of a mic and talking on a podcast might be scary. So I kind of wanted to talk through what to expect and what to do with that. Sound like something you can want to talk about?
I would love to. Thank you for having me, Brian. And hello, everyone.
Yeah, we’ve both interacted with lots of guests, and I’m sure your experience, there’s been quite a spectrum of people who are either super comfortable or uncomfortable or really prepared or not prepared at all.
Typically, we can make it work out, but there’s ways and things that you can do as a guest, obviously, to make it more likely that it’s going to work out, work out better.
We do Python Bites together where we don’t usually interview people, but we do sometimes spring on a guest host. But on top of Python, you’ve got over 180 episodes. That’s incredible, man.
Thanks. It’s been going for four years now.
Yeah. And then Test And Code about the same in length of time, but 50 plus episodes. Yeah.
But you’ve had a Renaissance. It’s coming on strong these days.
Yeah. One of the things we’re going to talk about is how to go about doing it if you want to be on somebody’s podcast, sort of how to approach somebody and then what to do to maybe have somebody try to ask you and then how we look for guests, why we pick certain people over others and then some of the prep work. So like what to do before you’re on the show, some hardware that you might need and then kind of what to expect during the show and after the show. Does that sound about right?
Yeah, I think that sounds great. Let’s talk about it. All these things have really important lessons for folks who are going to be on the show, or even I think listeners wanting to know, oh, this one came out really well and this one not so much or this show was interesting. And how did they pick that person? Why did they not pick that other person? And I also think this advice is somewhat relevant to people who don’t care about podcasts as being a guest on a podcast.
If you’re doing public speaking, if you’re reaching out to somebody for a job that was not publicly offered, things like that, I think a lot of what we’re doing here, the ways to get noticed and participate. I think it kind of translates there as well, somewhat.
Yeah, I like that. So just ways to get noticed. So we’re picking out people, I guess. Let’s start there. So how would somebody stand out?
I think there’s a couple of ways that people would stand out. Obviously, there are some really straightforward ones, like if you build something like Flask or some other really popular framework or library at some point, just putting this focus on Python. Right. But you think of this in wherever you might want to be featured. If you build something super popular in your industry, people are going to want to talk to you about it. They’re going to want to interview about it, learn the history, just learn more about it. So that’s the hardest but most sure way to do it. Right. If somebody comes to me, if David Lord came to me who is now running Flask and said, hey, I’m the maintainer of Flask and I’d love to give you an update on it on a show episode, here’s the things I talk about, like deal done. Right.
That does it. I would say not everyone can do that, because why your project takes off or doesn’t is, you know, both many years and a year’s journey and somewhat up to chance.
Everybody can do some sort of public presentations.
You could blog, you could have a YouTube channel, you could speak at a meetup or a user group. You could speak at conferences. All these things are relatively attainable. Certainly having like a YouTube channel or blog is attainable. Right. And does help a lot.
Those also tell the people running a podcast that you are interested in promoting, whatever you’re promoting and what you’re thinking about.
Yeah, absolutely. And you can tell watching that person, oh, they’re going to be a good conversationalist. They’re going to be good in front of the microphone. You can tell that they’re going to connect with the audience. Because as a podcaster, our goal is to have the best show possible for our listeners, also for our guests. But for our listeners. Right. We want people to go, wow, I listened to that, and I’m so glad I spent that hour doing that.
So much of that depends upon the guests. Right. When I interview people, I would say I speak certainly less than half of the time, maybe a quarter of the time. So it’s going to depend on the guests. It’s our job to lead them down the path. But it’s got to be someone who’s doing that. So if you see them speaking or writing in interesting ways, that makes it pretty clear. And also another secret I’ll tell folks, it might not be a secret after you publish this, but it is for the moment. If you have a recorded presentation about things you want to be on the show about, it’s so much easier for the podcaster to look at that go, oh, these are the interesting points. These are the questions I had while watching it. So I’ll ask that during the interview. Boom. It’s so much easier to prepare and present that.
Yeah, exactly. So if you’ve got either just a video clip or an audio clip or even a blog post covering whatever you want to talk about, that’d be great. One of the things I had somebody send me a tutorial that they did at a Python, which is I’m glad they did a tutorial, but those are 3 hours long. I’m not going to watch a three hour video ahead of time.
I know. I’m with you. It’s got to be a little more focused than that. Although a three hour Python tutorial is way better than nothing.
Yeah, definitely. So you had some tips on if you want to reach out to a podcast and say, hey, I’d like to be on your show. How do you do that?
Yeah, I’m sure you get these emails. I do as well, or Twitter messages or whatever from folks saying, hey, I really love your show. I’m doing this interesting thing. I would love to come on and talk about it. And you just get a whole spectrum of things there. Sometimes you hear that and you’re just like, wow, yes, you must be on the show. And other times you’re like, it’s interesting, but I just don’t know that it’s published to the world type of interesting. So if you’re going to suggest yourself, you want to say concrete and focused, don’t just like throw some big thing, hey, I’m Michael. I do Python and I really love it. And I’d like to be on your podcast. Like, no, it’s going to be on my podcast because what am I supposed to do with that? I got to go research them on LinkedIn or on their blog and figure out what do they even do?
But I get stuff not quite that vague but close. But if I said, Hi, my name is Michael. I recently converted a web app powering my online courses from SQL and a relational database over to MongoDB. Often people ask me, why did that and how. And I’d love to come on your show talk about the journey. Here’s a blog post in a video I created around it already. So I just hope your audience will be interested in that. I really like to talk to you. Like that person has a good chance of being on the show because they’ve given me enough information.
I can decide whether that topic is interesting. I can research it to see if it’s actually interesting and things like that.
That’s a good advice. Even like, I was thinking of somebody if you want to do it, if you’re not up, you’re not quite ready to do a podcast, but you want a guest post on somebody else’s blog. That would be a great way to do that also. And if you just really want to be on the show and there’s like several things you’re passionate about, go ahead and list them out. Have a bulleted list of saying these different topics are things that I could talk about whatever you think would be interesting for your guests or your listeners.
Right. Because maybe you’ve already covered converting to MongoDB in my example, or you hate MongoDB and you don’t want to talk about it. I mean, there’s a lot of reasons why maybe that’s not the thing, but if there’s two or three things, then certainly, yeah. So I guess also don’t take no personally because like I said, maybe that topic was recently covered in close enough.
Or maybe it is really interesting, but it’s so focused on niche that it doesn’t make sense.
Like if somebody came in and said, I’d love to do a podcast on decorators, maybe, but that might just be too focused. I don’t know. Maybe not.
But tell me why it’s interesting and why it could be a full episode. And also, yeah, I like don’t take no personally, because sometimes the answer for no or not right now is just as a host, I know that I don’t know enough about it to ask the questions, and I don’t have time right now to go research it. If you can help somebody with that research, like I said, with a video or some blog post that shows basically how to come up with the overall view of whatever the thing is you’re going to talk about, that would help you get on a show.
Absolutely. So when you make that proposal, you should see it as I’m going to this podcaster and I’m asking them to do a research project on this basic. I’m asking them to learn enough about this to have me on the show and have an interesting conversation. So how can I help that be a super small transition.
These are like seven things around this topic that I think would be great. We could talk about this and this. You’re like, oh, yeah, this is great. I’m ready. If it’s just like I want to talk about databases. It’s like, well, okay, now I got to do this research project or I want to talk about, let’s say, some machine learning algorithm. People talk to me about that and I don’t know anything about it. Now I have to go learn that to interview this person. Do I have the 5 hours to go research machine learning so I can then talk to this person interesting or not, right? Like things like that. That’s the don’t take no personally.
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So let’s jump into different reasons why you might choose a guest if you’re going to go out and look for a guest.
Yeah. So I would say a little bit. Like I said, you’re looking for a focused topic. There are some shows that are just like two dudes in a mic.
I’m thinking of John Grievener’s podcast. He’s a really interesting podcast. He interviewed Marco Armet once and I was listening to it and they didn’t have a topic for the show. And they were three and a half hours into the episode and they said, oh, I think we’re getting a little bit long in this episode. We should probably start talking about what we’re going to talk about, right? That’s fine for some places, but most places they want to have, like, this is the topic of the show. This is why you listen and so on. So it’s good to suggest multiple things, like, I could do this or this or this, but having five little things you’re going to talk about that are unrelated, maybe it’s not really great. So try to focus on the one or two big things having prior work. Right. Like the conference presentations, YouTube videos, whatever. Super important we look for fit. Like, how well does that fit with my audience?
With the theme of the show? Maybe it’s really interesting, but most people wouldn’t care about it on my podcast, so I’m not going to accept it. Right.
Yeah. Well, like, for instance, we will often pass things back and forth and say, like, I’ve gotten a couple of guests that you’ve found during your research and they don’t quite fit. Talk Python, but they might be a good fit for Test And Code.
Exactly. Or vice versa. Yeah, for sure. I don’t know how you feel, but I’m always a little wary of self promotion.
Yeah, right. So there’s nothing wrong with promoting something that you want to have somebody buy or look at whatever product you’re working on. Like, I don’t know, like maybe the pytest book or learning Python through the top Python courses, as long as it fits with the audience. However, if it’s a half an hour ad, that’s gross and definitely gross. Nobody wants to listen to a half an hour ad. And I’ve actually listened to it doesn’t happen too much in our space. But in the business podcasts, sometimes you’re like 20 minutes into a discussion, you realize it’s been a 20 minutes ad. They’re not going to actually give me anything other than go buy their stuff. That’s terrible. So don’t do that.
Yeah. Everyone is there for some reason, right? They’ve got some angle of promoting. It could be all goodwill and whatnot.
But if I’m going to come and talk about my product, that’s probably not. Okay.
Yeah. Or I’ve got a product that deals with a certain now, one of the good things is because we focus so much on building this product, we understand the problem space a lot, and we can talk about this particular problem that a lot of people have. Our solution happens to be just one, but we can talk about other ways.
That’s totally fine.
You got to be a little careful there. But yeah, that’s totally good.
Let’s say you’ve asked to be on a show and you’re going to get ready for a podcast or somebody asks you, what sort of things should you do? I guess as a guest before the episode.
Like I said, you’re basically giving this podcaster a job to do a bunch of research. And as much as you can help them early in the process, the better. So what I would hope from a guest is that they help prepare some show notes. Maybe we share a Google Doc or a Dropbox paper or something, and they could say not necessarily all the details we’re going to talk about, but here are five to ten interesting things that we could just touch on throughout the hour. Even that is Super, super helpful. So I would say help put some structure around what the conversation is going to look like, at least in your area that you’re focused on, right?
Also, I would say if you don’t know the podcast. A lot of times people who suggest themselves, they suggest themselves because they listen to you. But a lot of times if we reach out to somebody running some project, they don’t necessarily listen to our show. So as a guest, you should listen to an episode. So you know what the sense of humor is like of the person, how serious and how fun the show is. There’s often always like a standard introduction, a standard outro. Maybe there’s a section in the middle like, hey, what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever built with Python or whatever craziest piece of software ever built? If that’s a question that always happens in the middle, you shouldn’t go, oh, that’s a good question. Let me think about that. You should know, like, boom, let me tell you the story of the most amazing thing you should know that that is coming, right?
So listen to an episode.
And on that I think it’s perfectly fine. I would grab one of the more recent ones. Don’t go back and listen to episode zero or episode one because podcasts change over time.
Yeah. We learn on the job. Yeah.
The other thing is that you can go ahead if you don’t know which one. Like, if they’re hour long episodes and you don’t have a lot of time, I think it’s fine to Ping the host and say, hey, I want to listen to one of your episodes first. Which one do you recommend?
Yeah. And also, are there common questions you often ask or something?
As much as it’s the job of the guest to help prepare the talking points, also the host should make it really clear upfront, like, this is the general structure of what we’re going to talk about.
That’s a good point. I wanted to ask you because even though I’ve done 50 episodes, I still feel like I’m kind of new at this.
How do you prepare cast? Do you send them like an email ahead of time to say, here, I need these things from you and this is what you should get ready for and stuff.
Yeah. Usually what I do is I kick off the whole sort of onboarding towards recording a show together, saying, hey, I want you to be on the show, and as soon as they agree, okay. Here’s a way to schedule a time, and here is a document that we’re going to use to share to build up what we’re going to talk about. Now, this is not a script. This is not a scripted thing. This is just interesting elements that we want to weave into our conversation. Right. And then at the bottom, at the top, I’ll give them kind of here’s the intro, here’s the main conversation, here’s the two questions I always ask my show, and it’s right there. So they see it. And then at the bottom and here’s an old version filled out that’s like three pages of notes so they can see how this is what it’s going to look like when it’s done. And this is like where I dropped my stuff. So I try to give them as much help on that path.
Okay. That’s a good idea. And then do you tell them about hardware and stuff as well? Is that part of that email?
Yeah, actually, I use Calendar, which is a cool scheduling service. And part of that scheduling the time actually asks them some questions. And that part talks about hardware. Like, I have a good microphone. No, I don’t have one. And actually, you and I have spoken about this. I’m actually thinking of having them enter their address and sending them not too expensive, but good microphone beforehand if there’s enough lead time.
Yeah. I guess that’s one of the things we have is making sure that you have. So if you just have like, you can talk into a computer, you can do a Skype call or something without any hardware at all. However, if you’re not recording it, it will sound okay. And it’ll look okay. But the number one thing that you want to do for a podcast, just have headphones or a headset or something because we want to separate the speaker in the mic so that we don’t pick up the speaker in the mic.
Yeah. The key to making both the host and the guest sound good is to have separate tracks, because usually at different levels, there’s different background noise. Like, for example, if a dog barked in your house while I’m speaking, you can just silence that dog bark. And nobody but you and I would know that there was ever a dog. Right. But if we record it all in one track, then we can’t do those kinds of adjustments, basically. You’re right. The headphones are super important. Microphone, if you can have it, is great. So I recommend the Audio Technica ETR 2100, which is just a USB mic. It’s like $70 for a long time. I use the Blue Yeti, which is like 150, but honestly, it’s not as good as the ATR.
Yeah, the cheaper one. And then one thing that we talked about, the headsets. I recently had a guest who used a Microsoft Live Chat LX 3000 headset. How’s that for a name? And it’s like a $27 headset. She sounded so good. I’m like what headset is that you’re using? Because I’ve tried to get these little noise canceling headsets and they sound like echoey and empty.
This one sounds super good. So for $27, that’s a really good one.
If you’re a gamer, you might already have like a decent headset with a mic.
And that’s probably all of these are better than your laptop microphone.
Yeah. I think it’s like you said, this Microsoft wants $27. It seems like, well, I want to be a guest on somebody else’s show. Why should I pay money? I know that you will have at least $27 of benefit from being on a podcast.
I totally agree. And it’s worth pointing out that you shouldn’t turn down being a guest on the podcast because you don’t have that or you can’t get it in time using your Apple little white headphones. Those will be fine, right? They’ll be okay.
But the Internet is written in ink and it’s forever. And if you’re going to spend an hour of your time and put that out there, you want that to represent you well. And if $27 and a decent headset is what it takes to sound close to pro rather than talking to a tin can, it’s worth the effort. Yeah.
And then also, one of the things where as a host, we are going to ask you for so you can get it ready ahead of time if you want to is a little bio about who you are, which headshot shot you want to use, and whatever links you want to promote, because we will sometimes put those on there. And then, for instance, right now we’re using shared notes to look at what we’re going to talk about. And one of the things we brought up is to make sure that you’re sitting down for the podcast. You don’t want to have to get up right during it. So make sure that you’ve gone to the bathroom if you think you might need to go to the bathroom.
These shows often take longer than you think, right? You think, oh, it’s going to be 45 minutes, but then maybe it’s a little late getting started. And then there was that audio glitch, and you had to figure that out for 15 minutes, and then you talked a little longer. Then there was the wrap up. So you have to be prepared to sit for an hour and a half or something. Like at least you should be able to maybe it won’t take that long, but you shouldn’t count on being able to just take breaks.
I don’t recommend taking food with you for the interview, but having some liquid to sip on, like coffee or water or something is probably fine.
Yeah. And if it’s coming up on lunchtime, maybe just get a quick like one of those little naked Jew smoothies or just something that you can just eat before the show. Not during the show, just something. So like you’re not like crashing and tired halfway through. Right. Just get yourself ready to be excited. Because when you just audio with no facial expression, you have to come across a little bit more excited and happy than maybe just normally would just sit in a chat and having a coffee, right?
Yeah, I guess. Do I need to get any extra software from my computer?
I guess that depends. Almost always the answer is no. But the software that you use will be driven by the host. So some shows use Google Hangouts, some shows use Zoom. You and I, we typically use Skype, maybe also with Zencaster. But Skype. So you would have to use probably whatever software that they want you to use.
And I would say, don’t be judgmental, because I’ve had some folks go, I hate Skype. I don’t want to use Skype. I want to use Hangouts. Like, okay, well, tell me how to do multi track recording Hangouts. You can’t. I like Hangouts too, but I’m not using it for technical reasons. It’s not that I’m a huge fan of Skype and I want to make you install it. It’s just the one way I can record multi track, not using this other tech.
Sometimes there are reasons. Maybe they’re streaming it live through YouTube. Right. And that they want to do Hangouts because they want to stream it live. I don’t know. Often, like, the flow has to match the software. So just go with the flow.
Yeah. And one of the other things is I typically use Skype. I think you do, too. The other thing is, if you know how to record your side, you can record two things at once. So I’ll be recording the Skype conversation when I talk with you. But if you have an ability to record your voice on your end, too, either through whatever. So on Macs, COOKTIME does audio recording really easy and it’s built in.
So anybody who has a Mac can do this.
And I think you can do it on PCs, too. I should look that up. I’m sure there are ways and doing a little bit of research and figuring out how to do it, do a couple of practice recordings. It could save an episode. Because if Skype cuts out, we’ll have that backup bit of recording that we can fill in the part where Skype was crackly or whatever.
Yeah. And the trick is, a lot of times you and I don’t publish our Skype version. We publish our local version, but we use Skype for real time. And we take your local recorded version out of the ECM call recorder and mine. And we publish those two tracks, which never transmitted over the Internet. So they’re higher quality.
But none of the software costs anything, so it’s pretty easy. And then during the show, I guess, let’s talk about location. So thinking about where you’re going to be when you record the podcast is important because you don’t want to. Like, if you have a dynamic mic or what are the two kinds? Condenser, condenser, condensers. Pick up everything. So if you have a condenser mic, make sure you’re in an environment that’s pretty quiet. But a lot of people will think, oh, I’ll just go into an empty conference room or something. Be careful of that. Possibly because you might have a lot of Echo.
I have noticed that too often people think the best place is I’m at work, I’m going to go get a totally private little quiet conference room. And it’s just like an Echo Chamber.
Even with a good mic, it’s super hard to make those little conference rooms not just Echo like crazy.
And in my opinion, I would rather have a little background noise, but no Echo than the other way around.
I’ve only done this once, but I’ve gone to the outdoor area of a but I’ve done this with a dynamic mic, but outdoor seating at a coffee shop, and there’s background noise, but it sounds more natural than the Echo Enos of a conference room.
Yeah. And we can also do post processing to reduce that surprisingly well.
Another place that people might not realize. Well, I live in a small apartment. It’s just going to be echoing. There’s not much I can do. Or one of the best places to record is actually in a walk in closet. Like, all those clothes around you is like the best noise dampening. It’s better than my little studio thing here by far.
Yeah. Or just some other room of your house that has, like, drapes and furniture and stuff like that. It will reduce a lot of the Echo.
Yeah. Maybe live near it.
One of my secrets for reducing Echo in my office is just having a whole bunch of stuff in it.
Yeah. Empty rooms, like the conference room, for example, is just bad news. The more stuff in it, the better. Generally speaking, it’s like even the couch will suck it up.
Okay, so you got your location done, your advanced prep work, you’re ready to record.
So should you be stressed out? No, don’t be stressed out.
I think some people are just totally natural. They’ve been on podcast before, or they’re just naturally good at speaking. And so it’s no big deal. But for a lot of folks, it is a stressful situation. Even if you’ve done public speaking because it’s recorded. And like I said, it’s written in ink. So that can be stressful because you can potentially ask people to edit it. But once it’s out.
It’S just that’s it one of the things to try to be relaxed. You know, the material you’re going to talk about, you know the topic. And I want people to know one of the things it’s way less terrifying than public speaking because it’s not sent out live. You can make mistakes. You can say something completely idiotic and stupid, and then once you realize it, you could say, oh, man, can we cut that part out? Let me answer that again. Or let’s just restart that section that’s doable. I’ve even had people say that. I’ve never had anybody say something really dumb, but I’ve had people in the middle of it go, well, the dog is really barking in the background. Can we just start that over? And you can do that because it’s a recording.
Yeah, I like that it’s not StreamLive. So I think about this to be relaxed. There’s a couple of things that you can do first of all, I talked about the show notes. Just prepare, sketch out what you want to talk about. Like, you and I, we sketched out this conversation. There’s obviously a lot of spot in 80, and we’re just talking about stuff. But it’s not like we’re going to get to some deadpoint in the conversation and we’ll forget what to say. We kind of know what we want to talk about. So we’re going to talk about one thing until we’re done talking about. We’ll go on to the next. And you can use that to help you feel much better about the conversation. You can be sure about all those things you want to talk about. You can have a little backstory, you keep notes, and I think that really helps. The other thing is spend a few minutes talking to the person before they hit record. Almost nobody dials in and, like, live, you’re on the radio, they call you, and you’re like, hey, are you doing about ready?
Even just talking for one or two minutes. Just, hey, what town are you in? Oh, that’s a cool town. I visited it. Right. Like that kind of stuff for a minute or two will make you more or less almost forget that you’re talking to anybody but that person you’re speaking to. Right. I’m only speaking to you, Brian.
How did that transition, though? So when you have a guest on, you do a little bit of just how are you? What’s going on? And then how do you transition to say, like, now we’re going to start the podcast part.
Sure. So I give them a little bit of background about like, okay, my show has an introduction and stuff, but I’ll do that later. So we’re just going to start from the main interview and we’ll talk for a little bit. And then I’ll generally speak to people until I can feel them relaxed and become more conversational. Right. Some people just start that way. Other people, you can tell they’re kind of tense. So you just speak to them until they sound relaxed and then you’re like, all right, well, you bet. Ready? Yeah.
Well, just welcome to the show and off your role. So it’s partly you, but it’s partly the host job to do this.
But if you are a guest, you can use that to your advantage. Just talk to the person a little bit instead of just say, let’s record.
Yeah. And then one of the things because of this, we’re going to talk a little bit ahead of time.
We may have some mistakes within the show that we’re going to cut out. Actually, I do more editing on the things I say than the things the guests say. Most of the guests are just completely fine. But I’ll totally bunch up a question and I’ll ask, like two at the same time. And I’ll cut part of that out because of that. If I’m going to do a half an hour show. It might actually take an hour to record.
So don’t try to I wouldn’t schedule something right after your interview because it might go longer and just allow for that. But also be honest upfront. If you can’t do that, tell the host ahead of time to say, hey, I’ve got a hard clip at like 11:00. I need to take off then.
So the host can make sure that they can wrap things up beforehand. Yes.
Just communicating. Very important.
Yeah. And then so we’ve gotten the show done, we’ve hit stop. What should a guest do after the show?
So again, a whole spectrum from my guest here. Sometimes it’s just. Okay, thanks. Goodbye. That’s it. Other times I’ll get a thank you note, which is really nice. Hey, thanks for having me on the show. I really learned a lot here’s. Maybe some follow up information that you can put in the show notes that I learned about when research from a question. So like a thank you note is really kind of nice but not required.
I would say, I don’t know why you would not want to share the episode when it comes out on social media. And so if you are on Twitter, go to Twitter and say, hey, I was on the show, it was fun. Check out my episode. You don’t say the podcast is great necessarily. You can just say, look, here’s my story. I told it. You guys want to listen to it, assuming that it didn’t just go wrong, which is very rare.
Just share. Actually, that really helps the podcast.
Every guest that you have on has a different audience. And if they can let another 500 people know about your show week after week, that can make a big difference. That can be the difference between you continue to do the podcast and not if people don’t keep coming, you might stop, right?
Yeah. So helping to permanent it. Yeah.
You and I, we’re pretty lucky because we have a lot of listeners to our shows. But I speak to a lot of podcasters who are they’ve got 300 people who listen to their show and they’ve been doing it for a long time. If you could send 200 more people to their show, that would actually double their audience, they would really appreciate it, especially in the early days. So I would just help consider writing blog posts, consider sharing on social media and things like that. Sometimes you are speaking as yourself, but it’s like very relevant to what your company does and they could use the promotion. So maybe tell your marketing Department like, hey, I was on this podcast and I mentioned our company often. They’re like super excited to share that too. And your company likes you because you’re doing promotion for them. Podcaster likes you because you’re helping the promotion for them. You get the benefit of your stuff. It’s more listened to and widely shared like it’s win win.
Yeah, that’s something I wouldn’t have thought about ahead of time. But I definitely agree with is to let the company know. And not just let your boss know if you want, but also if you have ties into the HR Department or the top of the company, depending on your company size, don’t be shy about it, because being able to publicly speak or be on a podcast or do something like that is a skill and will be viewed as such. And as a manager, I would love to have people out there speaking, even if it’s completely irrelevant to what the company does.
I totally agree with you, and I think very few people get this opportunity, so if you have the opportunity, it’s going to put a nice light on you. The one thing I would say is there are some companies that are super picky about even mentioning who you work for, and they can be like, really draconian.
Maybe in that space. Don’t poke the bear. Just like, okay, it’s not going to bother. Let’s not upset them and start lawyers in action or any weird stuff like that. Right. But for 99% of the companies out there would be super thrilled.
And speaking of that, before you get on the podcast, if what you’re going to talk about relates to your work at all, or if you want to mention where you work, sending a quick email to HR Department or whoever in your company to say, hey, I’m going to be on this podcast, or this applies to public speaking as well. Is it okay if I mentioned that I work here? Should I or things like that?
Can I talk about this project? Is it still secret or can we be public? Right. If your company’s blogging about it, obviously you’re fine.
But yeah, I definitely did that. Before I started blogging and podcasting, I made sure that the company was okay with it.
The first manager I talked about said, yeah, that’s fine, as long as you don’t talk about X, Y or Z. And then once I was talking with another level of manager and he was like, oh, my God, I love recording. And then we started geeking out on microphones and recording Studios and stuff. So it was neat.
That’s awesome. And now they’re even happy to have you as a book author, right?
Yeah, that’s a fun thing, too.
Don’t be shy.
I’ve gone so far as having the recording before I release it, giving it to the guest and say, Look, I know you have to have your marketing Department or somebody review this here. They can listen. I’m sure there’s nothing super secret we talked about or anything negative, but if it’s going to make you feel better and put you in a better place, here’s the raw recording. You guys can go listen to the UMS and AHS for an hour, and then we’ll ship it or cut something out if we have to. Right. And I’ve never had to cut anything out.
That’s an interesting idea. So you’ve done that before then? Yeah.
I shouldn’t say where. I guess it probably isn’t irrelevant, but like one or two places.
I think it’s okay. But they’re a little sensitive on some stuff and they want to make sure that I didn’t talk about it.
Mind waiting a day if you want to listen to it?
It’s all good. Yeah, that’s fine. Cool. Well, I think hopefully hearing about what it’s like to be a guest and what you need to do will help people say yes more and try to get on podcast because I think it’s a good thing for a lot of people to try to do. And you never know, you might love it and want to be on more. So thanks a lot, Michael, for talking about this.
You’re welcome. I would say once you’re on one podcast, you’re much more likely to be on two or more. Once this sort of starts rolling, then it goes downhill. So I think it’s a great opportunity as well, and I’m happy to share my experiences, so thanks for having me, Bryan.
Yeah. I’ll let you know when this comes out and you can help me prevent it.
All right. Sounds good. I definitely will talk to you later.
Thanks a lot.
Thanks to Michael for that great discussion. I know that many of you know some cool stuff that would really help other people if you were willing to share it on a podcast episode. I hope this episode helps you to seek out guest opportunities. Thanks to Digital Ocean for sponsoring. Grab your $100 credit at testandcode.com DigitalOcean that link is also on the show. Notes at testandcode.com 56 this show is growing every week and I love it and that’s thanks to you. Thank you for spreading the word, sharing this show with your friends and colleagues and also sponsoring the show through Patreon Patreon. Supporters have kept me going since 2015 and I appreciate that immensely. I usually sign off by saying go test something or something like that, but for this episode, go out and brainstorm some topics for your next or first guest appearance on a podcast. It’s a lot of fun.