Running Diary: The Podcast Guest

Of all the connections I’ve made since starting this blog, this one was the weirdest.

Back in January, I wrote an article on Web Worker Daily entitled “Get Mad But Don’t Get Even – Turn an Insult Into a Favor” and a fellow HP employee invited me to appear on her internal podcast as a result. So, I made a connection on the inside by doing something on the outside. That’s still very strange to me.

In preparation for this interview, which focused on the soft skills topics I write about here, I listened to a few she had done before with a wide variety of executives from our printer division to get a sense for her questioning style. I wrote down a few bullet points I wanted to cover and then tried to forget about it for a couple weeks before we’d record the session. I worried about being too prepared and sounding stiff, instead wanting things to sound more natural and off the cuff.

When the day came for the interview, I made my first mistake: I scheduled a meeting just prior to the recording session. There were two reasons I would have done that differently next time. First, the previous meeting went over and I was late for the podcast. I didn’t know the interviewer that well and that wasn’t a very good impression to make. More troubling, though, is that I found I struggled to switch contexts, ideas from the other meeting lingering in my head as I was being peppered with questions on a very different topic.

After fumbling a bit on my self-introduction where I laid out who I was and what I did for a living inside HP, I recovered, but ran into my next snag: I neglected to ask how long the session was going to be. The previous podcasts I listened to varied in length and I suddenly realized that I was probably talking too much. I talked about why soft skills are important, told a story about a brilliant engineer I once knew who sometimes alienated others, and discussed how when I’m preparing a presentation for upper management I assume they know as much about technology as my 85 year old grandmother.

My host was very easy to talk to and very gracious, but when I hung up the phone, I thought to myself, “Oh crap, what did I just do?”

I’ve done my share of guest writing lately (see my new right side bar) and the thing about that is that the content usually gets a couple cycles of review. With audio, though, you get one shot to say what you want to. Asking for a “do over”, at least for me as a podcast guest rookie, seemed hugely awkward so I didn’t do it.

Fortunately for me, my interviewer was also a master editor and cut out most of the lame parts. I sounded like I actually knew what I was talking about when I discussed the importance of communicating technical information to non-technical people instead of coming off as the nervous schmuck I felt like when the call ended. I got some nice traffic from it and got reconnected with some people I hadn’t talked to in a decade, which was nice.

If you’re an HPer like me, you can find the podcast on this Sharepoint site.

Notes to self for the next time I’m a podcast guest:

  • Don’t schedule a meeting before the recording as it might lead to lateness and context switching problems
  • Have some speaking points in front of you to keep you on track
  • Know how long the session will go and keep an eye on the clock
  • Plug the blog at the end

One Response to “Running Diary: The Podcast Guest”

  1. Podcasting Directory Says:

    Couldn’t have said it any better

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