Networking has never been easy, and the transformation of the business landscape over the past few years has made it even more challenging. While sending cold emails and LinkedIn “connect with me” might work from time to time, podcasting has emerged as a powerful way to network with other professionals and industry influencers.
Podcasting is much more than a content marketing tool or an educational resource for business professionals. If done correctly, networking through podcasting can have a lasting impact on your professional success. Here are a few things you can do to boost your professional networking through podcasting.
Be accommodating and considerate
If you’re just starting out, you might be tempted to only invite well-known guests to your show so that you can expand your following faster. While this is understandable, the best approach is treating your guests with courtesy while also providing valuable information to your listeners.
Before the interview, do preliminary research about your interviewee. However, be careful, as too much research will make your interview sound stilted. If you fail to do enough research, you may appear impolite and inconsiderate.
Provide a list of questions to your guest ahead of time, but allow some freedom during the interview. If you’re recording in person, take a seat next to your guest, offer them a drink and introduce yourself.
Listen intently to your guests and allow a few moments of dead air to let them catch their breath. After all, you don’t want your guest to leave feeling exhausted from the interview. This also allows you and your listeners to digest what your guest has said.
Build strong rapport
If you’re podcasting to build your network, the most vital portions of the interaction come before and after the interview itself. Only start recording once you and your guest are fully comfortable with each other. A lot of times, if you begin recording right when the call starts, the guest can be distracted and feel pressured to not be fully open with their story.
As a longtime podcaster myself, I’ve been known to overdue this at times. Occasionally a guest will tell me to start recording because the conversation is already too good, like when I was exchanging some lively pre-interview banter with New York Times best seller Nicole Lapin and she said, “I’m ready for the main event!”
Ensure your guest understands why you do what you do, and share your story with them in a vulnerable way. They will be more likely to want to share their story with you and your audience in a vulnerable way, too.
After the interview, take a few minutes to thank your guest and share your insights. This can help you find your common interests and provide an opportunity to network.
Avoid interrupting your guests while they’re speaking, as it can come out as impolite and is usually highly annoying to listeners. Of course, there may be moments when you must interrupt your guest to get the conversation back on track.
Your role is to set up the correct questions for your guests and then let them take it from there. If your interviewee expresses something you wish to delve deeper into, jot it down in a notebook and bring it up when they’ve finished speaking.
Also, be silent when your guest is speaking. This results in a far better interview, and it helps to build a level of trust and rapport with your guest that can last long after the interview.
Podcasting is not just about the interview itself. If you have done enough research about your guests, you’ll be able to figure out how you can help them. Even if you can’t help them, maybe you have someone in mind that can. You can offer to support them with your talents in their business ventures (without profiting). You can also simply offer to listen to their ideas and give your opinion.
Approaching this connection with the end goal of wanting to form a friendship instead of expecting something in return is the proper way to connect with your guests on a deep level and level up your network.
This could be as simple as asking someone “Is there anything I can do to support you?” I remember asking this to Ed Mylett, and he was shocked by the simple question. He said to me, “I don’t know how to answer that because nobody ever asks me that.” I then came up with a few simple ways to support him, and we have a connection and friendship to this day because of it.
By willingly and unconditionally offering your help, you’ll be able to build strong professional relationships that will ultimately come in handy in the future.