The best part about hosting a podcast as an introvert is you don’t have to worry about anyone looking at you.
There was a time when I would have broken out in a cold sweat at the thought of hosting a podcast. As an introvert, I didn’t want to talk to strangers, not even if the conversation was one-sided. But now I do it all the time.
Well, I have my limits, and there’s still a lot I can’t do. However, going back to my first attempts at podcasting several years ago, I never thought I’d make it this far. But now, who knows what I will achieve in a few more years? If you’re an introvert and thinking about hosting a podcast, I’m proof that it can be done.
6 Ways to Host a Podcast if You’re an Introvert
1. Try (and try again).
It all started with an online marketing course I’d taken. Part of the advice for marketing myself as a brand, rather than just trying to sell my books, was to start a podcast. I would have preferred to stay locked away writing, but that wasn’t going to make people aware of me. So I talked myself into starting one.
For my first podcast, I reviewed books. This didn’t last long because the premise of talking for five minutes or more didn’t work for me — even with my notes in front of me, I stumbled on my words a lot. It wasn’t great to listen to. Also, if I stuck too closely to reading from my notes, it wasn’t natural — instead, it sounded like I was reading from my notes.
I also had no editing skills. As much as I tried, I just couldn’t grasp how to use the editing software I had downloaded. I felt like a failure because I couldn’t just talk naturally, like people on other podcasts I listened to, and blamed my introversion for this.
I honestly thought my failed attempt was the beginning — and end — of my podcasting endeavors. But I was wrong.
When I got together with my partner (now husband), also a podcaster, I made a throwaway suggestion that we should revive my podcast together, but under another title.
That’s how our monthly book review podcast was born. Many of the earlier episodes make me cringe to listen to, so I don’t. But I think I’ve improved over time. Doing the podcast with someone helped — I already knew him, and I tried to imagine, as much as I could, we were just having a conversation, and to forget it was being recorded.
2. Be passionate about your topic.
Even though we introverts don’t like to be the center of attention, if we’re talking about something we’re passionate about, we can talk for a long time. So make sure your podcast is on a topic you love.
In the podcast I host now, it definitely helps that we’re talking about books. I love books — both writing and reading them. It helps to have someone answer me when I talk, unlike the first podcast where it was just me. I have relevant experience and qualifications, so I can use that to review books and talk in more detail than I would about other topics.
In some ways, I come across as more confident now. I believe this is because I’ve had a lot of practice, I love the subject matter, and the podcast follows the same format every month. (We introverts love structure!) If something unexpected happens, it throws me off a little and will sometimes affect my confidence for the rest of the podcast. I try not to dwell on that too much, but of course, that’s easier said than done. The overthinking part of my introverted nature doesn’t always let me off the hook so easily.
3. Host with another person to alleviate some of the pressure.
I’ll admit, a big part of being able to host a podcast is having my partner there with me. He’s an extrovert and will always pick up the conversation if I struggle. With the solo podcast, I had put too much pressure on myself.
But by hosting it with someone who knows me well, and who is an experienced podcaster, it takes some of the pressure off. As we already talk about books together, it’s something I’m used to doing off the air, too.
I also rely on him to share and market the podcast, as he knows more people than I do and it comes naturally to him as an extrovert.
4. Break your podcast into small chunks.
I was so used to doing my podcast with my partner that when I decided to branch out and do a series of spinoff episodes alone, I was nervous. Instead of reviewing books, I read excerpts from other authors’ works. This, too, had a format — an introduction to the podcast and a blurb or some information about the author, then I’d read an excerpt, and then I’d conclude by thanking people for listening.
Breaking it into small chunks like this makes it easier and less daunting. I’ve started to get more into the readings now, and if I embrace a character, I can almost pretend to be them. This makes it better for the listeners to get a feel for the book, and for me to sound more confident than I really am. Somehow, being in “character” is less nerve-wracking. (It also helps that my partner can edit out the small stumbles afterwards.)
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5. Use your experience and expertise.
Another thing which built up my confidence was reading at spoken word nights — when writing is performed in front of others. I’ve been doing that for over four years now. So I transitioned from reading my own work in front of people I can see to reading other people’s work to an audience I don’t see. I had already done the hard part, and, like many introverts, there was a time I never thought I could read in public either.
My first time reading poems in public was almost a spur-of-the-moment thing. I went along to a spoken word night, just to watch, but was advised by a friend to bring some poems — “just in case.” After the first half and some encouragement from an experienced poet, I agreed to read during the second half. I still remember my fear and the way my legs shook as I did so.
I think a lot of this is down to actively challenging myself to step out of my comfort zone. It’s not always a pleasant experience, but I tell myself that if it doesn’t work, I never have to go back to that particular place again.
Most of the time, it’s not that bad. And I use the less positive experiences to remind myself of what I’ve done and how the next public reading, or podcast recording, won’t be as bad.
One example of this was an outdoor reading I agreed to. As soon as I arrived at the venue, I realized it was not a poetry-loving audience. And I was right. Not one of the six audience members listened to the poem I read. If it had been my first reading in front of an audience, I never would have continued.
Thankfully, I’ve had great experiences, too. I read three poems at a spoken word night and got the best reaction I’d ever had. The event was a one-off, so I just decided to read, enjoy myself, and see what happened. I didn’t overthink it, but just went on stage.
That’s not to say introverts shouldn’t plan anything, but I find public speaking works best for me when I make a plan, then leave that plan alone. Going back to it and trying to overcompensate for every little thing which might go wrong won’t help. It will only leave me too nervous to speak.
I then apply this to podcasting by trying to enjoy each episode I record, either on my own or ones I cohost with my partner. The experiences above certainly help to keep me going though. I know that if I can perform to a disinterested audience in person, then I can cope with any disappointments in my podcasting abilities. I don’t have to be perfect all the time. In fact, most of the time, I’m the only one who will remember my mistakes, long after everyone else has forgotten about them.
If I need a confidence boost, I remind myself about the podcasting or public speaking successes I’ve had, like the aforementioned positive reaction or the book sale I made to someone I didn’t know after I’d read the prologue of my novel. Plus, with podcasts, I don’t have to worry about everyone looking at me, because it’s audio-only (which is the best part).
6. Get creative — for instance, you can turn your novel into a podcast.
Last year, I committed to making an entire novel into a podcast. It wasn’t an audio drama, just me reading a chapter every week. This is another thing I never saw myself doing when I was struggling with five-minute book reviews on my own.
I’ve grown to like my introverted nature, and I value my achievements, even if extroverts may not understand the work I put into getting here. That doesn’t mean others will always accept me as I am, but I accept myself. That’s the most important thing. And I think being an introvert definitely helps me with my podcast since I am focused and passionate about it.
No Matter What, Make Sure You’re Enjoying the Process
It took time, years in fact, to progress this far, but you’ll find when you have the passion, persist at your goal(s), and find what works for you, one thing will lead to another. If you want to get into podcasting, find a friend or someone you feel comfortable around to help you. (This will take some of the pressure off you.) And if you can find the one thing that makes you push yourself a little, you can be the best version of yourself — which is what it’s all about.