I'm Afraid of Putting Myself Out There: Help for the Introverted Podcaster
I’ll never forget the first invite I sent asking someone to be a guest on my then non-existent podcast. I’d flown home from England to visit my family in the States and my mom and I went to the beach. And I’m sitting there in the sand staring at my phone, where I’d typed up this invitation in my Notes app the day before.
I’m so nervous about sending this message to my potential guest. As I finally pushed send, I closed my eyes. Do you know what happened? I got an enthusiastic yes. But what would have been the worst thing that could have happened? Would the person on the receiving end have sent me a mean email back saying, “How dare you ask this of me?”
Not likely. She just would’ve ignored my email.
And side note: What on Earth was I doing agonizing over this when I should have been enjoying the beach with my mom, who I see twice a year. Life is way too short to get caught up in such small things. But it’s natural to slip into that internal drama.
Since then, a question that’s helped me keep perspective in podcasting, and in life in general is: What’s the worst that could happen? And there are other techniques to help us get more comfortable with putting ourselves out there. Listen to the Podcasting Step by Step episode on help for introverted podcasters for more on this (and subscribe to the show for free).
Comfort zone exercises
If you’ve read Tim Ferriss’ books or listen to his podcast, you may have heard him talk about ‘comfort zone exercises,’ including lying down in a crowded public place for at least 10 seconds, saying nothing as people stare at you, and then getting up and going about your business.
Does the thought of that make you want to pass out? If you think about it, what is the worst that could happen? Someone asks if you need help? There are really no consequences here. Having said that, I have not worked my way up to that level of comfort zone exercise. But I have challenged myself in other ways that you might find helpful.
Share a video of yourself
Pick two days a week in which you’ll share a video of yourself in an Instagram or Facebook Story (or both). They are only 15 seconds and disappear in 24 hours. Don’t overthink it. If you need inspiration, talk about the most memorable thing that happened to you that day. There’s a wonderful exercise to help with storytelling called ‘Homework for Life,’ invented by Matthew Dicks, who’s won the Moth’s GrandSLAM storytelling championship multiple times. I interviewed Matthew on Postcard Academy. After you’ve done a few videos, you’ll wonder why you ever thought it was a big deal.
Record a solo episode
Are you already planning or recording a podcast? Introverts gravitate toward interview style shows in part because it takes the spotlight off us. I absolutely love interviewing people and have become good friends with some of my guests. But it’s also nice for your listeners to hear from just you once in awhile to get to know you better. Once a quarter, if not more, throw a solo episode into your mix if this is not something you’re doing already.
Podcasting is a very intimate form of content consumption, and listeners want to know who they’re dedicating their time to. You might be podcasting about entrepreneurship, but your fans don’t just want business tips -- they can get that in so many other places. They want business tips from you. They want to hear your story, your perspective on things.
And I know it can feel scary to reveal different parts of yourself, but when you do, people will be so grateful. Because we all want to feel like there is someone out there who gets us. Who understands what we’re going through. And that is what makes podcasting so powerful, this ability to connect with our voices and our stories.
Think of your podcasting nerves like first-date butterflies. They make you uncomfortable. But also excited. But then part of you feels like canceling and just being by yourself. But you push yourself to follow through with your commitment. And you have a great time and you think, “Wow, I almost missed this.”
Research has shown that we change how we think and feel by changing how we act. Not the other way around. We can’t dream about being more courageous. We have to act like courageous people. Challenge yourself to do something that scares you. It can be small. Do a 15-second video of yourself and put it on social media. And when you do, tag me so I can cheer you on.
There are many reasons to start a podcast. One of the best is the confidence it gives you. Can podcasting transform an introvert into an extrovert? Probably not, and there’s no reason to strive for that. Introverts are great!
But getting behind the mic and sharing your story with the world will change you for the better. You will feel more comfortable speaking up and there are many people eagerly awaiting to hear what you have to say.