Download: MP3 (42.2 MB)

Do you talk to or otherwise communicate with other humans? Raise your hand.

Good. You need to listen to this episode, because it’s about how to talk to other humans.

You can put your hand down now.

Here are a few things that I’m going to share with you in this episode:

  1. Why you need to write more if you want to be a better speaker
  2. Why you need to prepare and have a message before you start talking
  3. Why you should repeat yourself more often
  4. Why you should repeat yourself more often
  5. Why you should talk like you’re talking to just one person
  6. Why it’s important to know your audience
  7. and more!

Highlights, Takeaways & Quick Wins:

  • If you can improve one person’s life, then you are doing good work.
  • If you want to become a better speaker, you need to pick up the pen (or Macbook) and write.
  • Failing to plan is planning to fail. This is especially true for podcasting and speaking.
  • Some of the best advice I ever got was act confident even if you feel nervous.
  • Stop apologizing for not showing up.
  • People need to hear things multiple times before it really sinks in, so repeat your best thoughts and words.
  • If your writing is sloppy, your speaking probably is too. If you want to get better at speaking, write more.
  • You want your audience to feel like they’re hanging out in a room with you, even if they can’t talk to you directly. Acknowledge their presence.
  • If you want to be popular, use the skills and knowledge that you have and help people.
  • Don’t be afraid to be a flawed human being. You’re going to make mistakes. Laugh it off and move on. No one expects you to be perfect, they just want you to do your best.
  • Be genuine. Don’t try to fake it unless you’re faking a better version of yourself.
  • Share your mistakes with the intention of helping someone else learn from them and make better choices.
  • Respect your audience by being prepared and not wasting their time.

Show Notes

  • 1:40 I had a thought last night that I posted to Twitter. For context, I was thinking about what my podcast is about. My thought was: “Yeah, my podcast is about podcasting, but it’s really more about how to communicate more effectively with people. How to talk to people.”
  • 1:58 The words we choose to use when communicating with other humans are very important. Choose the right words and the right tone, and you can change someone’s life. Choose the wrong words and the wrong tone, and your audience will turn their attention elsewhere, which means you’ve failed.
  • 2:28 There are many reasons why so many of us are afraid of talking. I’ll list just a few:
    1. Fear of rejection
    2. Fear of offending someone
    3. Fear of looking stupid
    4. Fear of being ignored completely
  • 2:55 I’ve struggled with all of these fears before, and I’m sure I’ll struggle with them in the future.
  • 3:03 If you’ve never been afraid to talk, if you don’t struggle with communicating with people, you can skip this episode.
  • 3:15 Let’s wait a second to give those jerks time to switch to a different podcast. Ok good, they’re gone. Let’s keep going.

You Have to Have a Message

  • 3:22 Stop worrying that people won’t be interested in what you have to say. They’re listening. If they don’t want to listen, screw them.
  • 3:37 You are talking to the one person who really needs your message.

If you can improve one person’s life, then you are doing good work.

  • 3:45 The largest movements started with one person. One person. One person who had the guts to share their thoughts with the world.
  • 3:59 You have to develop your message, and the way to do that is to write.

If You Want to Become a Better Speaker, Write More

  • 4:18 This magical thing started happening to me after I started writing more; I found myself saying complete sentences that I’d written in the past. The cool thing was that these sentences made sense and sounded really good.
  • 4:35 Writing will make you a better speaker, especially if you try to write like you talk.
  • 4:42 If you try to read your writing out loud and you can’t get through a sentence, you will start changing your writing to match your voice. It’s happened to me before, and I’m sure it’ll happen again. Getting better at writing is a process.

If you want to become a better speaker, you need to pick up the pen (or Macbook) and write.

Be Prepared. Be Very Prepared.

  • 5:07 Let’s get something out of the way right now. You won’t ever deliver the perfect speech. You won’t ever deliver the perfect podcast, or the perfect conference talk, or the perfect video. You still need to prepare.
  • 5:26 Not preparing for a speech or a podcast is like buying a plane ticket to walk across Europe or taking off for a road trip without packing anything.
  • 5:35 Could you survive? Possibly, but I bet you’re gonna have a bad time.

Failing to plan is planning to fail. This is especially true for podcasting and speaking.

  • 5:52 It’s possible that you could get up on stage or in front of the microphone and talk for awhile and say something good, but it won’t as good as if you had prepared. Every second you spend preparing is time well invested. It will show in the final product, whether it’s a speech, podcast, blog post, or video.

Know Your Audience and What They Like

  • 6:10 This starts by defining what your show is about and who it’s for. If you don’t know who you’re doing a show for, you won’t be able to prepare topics that they’ll be interested in.
  • 6:39 There are only two questions that matters:
    1. Who is my show for?
    2. What will it do for them?
  • 6:48 If you can’t answer these questions, you shouldn’t be podcasting.

Work on Getting Better at Talking

  • 7:01 Everyone should invest time in getting better at talking. Your audience wants you to be good. Most people aren’t hoping that you suck so they can tell you how much you suck. They’re listening to you, they’re investing time in your show.

Some of the best advice I ever got was act confident even if you feel nervous.

  • 7:32 Play up your character a little bit. Be a little larger than life. Be more animated than you normally are.
  • 8:04 Slow your roll. Don’t talk so fast. When we get nervous, we talk faster. We rush through our sentences. This is doing a disservice to our listeners.
  • 8:20 Put emphasis on the important words. Take deep breaths before you start a sentence or paragraph. Don’t talk so fast. Chill out a little bit.
  • 8:33 It’s ok to read a script if you’re well practiced at reading your writing out loud, but your delivery needs to be damn good. There’s nothing worse than hearing someone give a monotonous delivery of something they wrote.

Don’t Apologize for Not Showing Up

  • 9:17 Don’t make excuses. We’re all tired. We’re all busy. Nobody wants to hear your excuses. Stop saying things like “Well, it’s been awhile since I did a podcast episode or wrote a blog post. Sorry about that, I’ll do better next time.”
  • 9:44 DUH. Try telling your audience something they don’t know. You’re wasting their time. Stop talking about how you’ve failed and start putting systems in place to make sure you get the work done when you said you would.

Stop apologizing for not showing up.

  • 10:31 The reason so many people struggle to create and release podcasts consistently is because they don’t have any accountability. They don’t have people who will get angry at them if they don’t put a show out every week.
  • 10:44 I’m not sure that I would have stuck to my weekly schedule if I wasn’t a part of the seanwes network. It’s been a huge motivator for me. If you struggle with consistency, find someone to hold you accountable.
  • 11:14 Put time to work on your podcast in your calendar. SHOW UP. Stop waiting till the last minute to work on your podcast episode.
  • 11:38 Write a long list of topics that you want to talk about. Add to it as much and as often as you can. Prepare an outline a week or two before, then write a first draft a few days before you’re planning on recording. Give yourself time to revisit it before you sit down to record.

The One Note Method

  • 12:09 One of the greatest tips about writing I ever heard was to give your brain time to think about a topic. Sean Blanc describes how he writes a topic on a note card at night before he goes to sleep. When he wakes up in the morning, he writes about it.
  • 12:30 I called this the One Note Method (I think he’s going to adopt the name).
  • 12:37 Write your topic down the night before you’re going to write about it. That gives your subconscious time to think about it. Try it for yourself, it really works.

Repeat Yourself a Little More Than You Think You Should

  • 13:11 Most people need to hear something multiple times before it really sinks in, so repeat the important stuff multiple times.
  • 13:27 Your significant other wants to hear “I love you” more than once.
  • 14:46 If something is important to you; if you have something valuable to share, it’s worth repeating. There is power in repetition. Use that power.

People need to hear things multiple times before it really sinks in, so repeat your best thoughts and words.

  • 15:29 Pause after you make a really important point. It breaks the routine and will make people stop and pay close attention again.

Work on Speaking Clearly

  • 15:46 Writing helps. If you aren’t writing for your podcast, you should be. Writing helps you find your voice. Writing forces you to think clearly and concisely.

If your writing is sloppy, your speaking probably is too. If you want to get better at speaking, write more.

  • 16:16 If you read what you’ve written out loud and it sounds funny, re-write it. Write it down, read it out loud, edit it, read it again, re-write it. Repeat until you sound natural when you’re reading your writing out loud.
  • 16:36 Talk like you’re sharing secrets or tips with a friend. You want your audience to feel like you’re speaking directly to them.

Speak To One Person

  • 16:42 Cory Miller asked: When Kyle and I record our podcast, we often struggle between referring to each other as “you” and referring to the audience as “you”. Is this really an issue, or should we just preface it with, “You, the listener…” or something like that?
  • 17:12 Great question, Cory. Using “you” when talking to your audience might be a little confusing for your co-host, but it will definitely make your audience feel like you’re speaking directly to them.

You want your audience to feel like they’re hanging out in a room with you, even if they can’t talk to you directly. Acknowledge their presence.

Don’t Be Needy

  • 17:49 The IRS takes. That’s why everyone hates them. They’re just constantly asking you for money and taking it if you don’t give it to them.
  • 18:20 People can sense neediness, and it scares their lizard brain. They think, “This person keeps asking me for things. They’re always just taking and taking. They’re going to drain me of my resources and time!” And then they run the other way as fast as they can.

Give Value to Your Listener, Become Their Ally

  • 18:50 You need to be a giver. Be an ally to your audience. The world can be a scary and lonely place sometimes, and we all need friends to have our back when times get tough.
  • 19:11 We all need someone to look us in the eye and say, “Yes. I understand what you’re going through. I want to help.”
  • 19:22 The secret to success is Be Helpful. Plain and simple.

If you want to be popular, use the skills and knowledge that you have and help people.

Don’t Hide the Takeaways

  • 20:06 You know what I hate? When I visit a website and I get this: “Here’s a short preview of what we’re talking about in today’s episode. To hear the full thing, sign up for a monthly membership!”
  • 20:27 I also hate when I’m looking for the answer to a problem and the description of the episode mentions the problem I have but doesn’t give me any idea about what kind of value I’ll get from listening.
  • 20:41 Don’t tease me! There’s nothing wrong with membership sites or paid content or products, but they need to have even more value than the free stuff. The free content needs to be valuable.
  • 21:27 Keep in mind that not everyone has time to listen to an entire podcast episode. If you put the most valuable takeaways in your show notes, you’re giving your audience something valuable and they will love you for it. They will come back for more later. But Aaron, what about the download numbers? Screw the download numbers.
  • 21:47 Eric Friedensohn said: Don’t focus on the numbers, focus on the depth of connection.
  • 22:06 Giving someone a valuable takeaway—in audio, video or written form—is making a connection. Your audience will remember that. They will appreciate that, and it will come back to you. That’s called The Rule of Reciprocity.

How to Deal With Haters or No Feedback

  • 22:05 If you do something long enough and achieve any kind of success, you will eventually get negative comments. It’s unavoidable. There are two things you should know:
    1. You’ve finally made it. Congratulations!
    2. You should respond respectfully, or not at all.
  • 23:18 If the person talking smack to you is hiding behind a screen name and fake picture, they aren’t interested in real conversations or making a connection. Don’t engage with them. Don’t waste time talking to them or even thinking about them. You have a limited number of hours on this earth. Don’t waste even a fraction of it on someone who is angry for whatever reason and trying to take it out on you and make you feel bad about what you’re doing.

Listen to Your Audience.

  • 23:57 Ask questions. Ask for feedback. Not in a needy way, but let your listener know that you want to hear from THEM.
  • 24:19 Sean McCabe does this really well. He does it better than anyone I’ve ever met, and he explains that you want to make people feel like you’re reading their minds.
  • 24:23 Scotty Russell asked: I’ve been asking my audience what they are struggling with and getting lots of good content to cover. Other than listening and applying my experiences with their struggles, what are some more practical tips for deeper connections?
  • 24:40 Write the questions down. All of them. Doesn’t matter if you think you aren’t going to answer them, or if they seem insignificant; write them down. Talk with your audience one on one. Talk on Skype. Meet them in person. Take notes. Follow them on Twitter and get to know them better.
  • 26:09 Start a list in reminders and capture the questions related to your podcast that people ask you in day to day life.

Be Genuine

  • 26:47 Ryan Magner asked: How do I balance a fun show personality while maintaining a serious tone when talking about topics that are important to someone’s business? I want my personality to be present, but I don’t want them to not take me seriously.

Be genuine. Don’t try to fake it unless you’re faking a better version of yourself.

  • 27:24 There’s nothing wrong with being fun. There’s nothing wrong with liking the things you like. You are the way you are and you should embrace that. The part of you that feels like that’s not good enough? That’s fear. That’s just you being afraid that someone won’t like you, reject you, or ignore you completly.
  • 27:44 If you are bold and comfortable with your personality, people will find you and like you and appreciate you for who you are. Yes, there will be people who are turned off by it.
  • 28:10 Be yourself. Have fun. If you care about what you’re doing, if it’s important to you, people will recognize and respect you.
  • 28:22 It’s ok to admit you don’t know the answer to a question. Ask your audience if they know. Give them a chance to share their knowledge.

Don’t be afraid to be a flawed human being. You’re going to make mistakes. Laugh it off and move on. No one expects you to be perfect, they just want you to do your best.

Share a Personal, Emotional Story

  • 29:03 Aaron Taylor asked: If I bring into the topic of my past experiences, such as mistakes, will that make my audience think less of me because I am showing vulnerable moments?
  • 29:03 Don’t be afraid to get real. People connect with vulnerability. They want to hear stories about how someone overcame the difficulties in their life and found success and glory.
  • 29:38 Express your emotions, but share your experiences with the intention of showing your audience what worked and what didn’t.
  • 29:56 I’ll be honest; I’m not very good at learning from other people’s mistakes. I usually make my own and then remember that one time I heard someone warning me not to make the same mistake they did.

Share your mistakes with the intention of helping someone else learn from them and make better choices.

Keep It Short

  • 30:34 It’s better to have a value packed shorter show than a show that drags on. Keep it punchy, keep it energetic.
  • 30:50 This is something I struggle with. I like being the center of attention. I even like talking sometimes. But I should be focusing on what my audience wants and needs instead of what I need.

Respect your audience by being prepared and not wasting their time.

Be Respectful

  • 31:32 Make your message simple to understand, but don’t talk to your audience like they’re idiots. If someone in your audience doesn’t understand, that’s not their problem; it’s yours. You need to ask why they aren’t understanding, and you need to be willing to break the concept down further.
  • 32:16 It’s hard to teach both beginners and experts. They have different needs. This is why it’s important to know your audience.
  • 32:35 Being respectful is about being grateful for the audience you have and the attention they’re giving you.

Q&A

  • 37:22 Emily Carlton asked: I think you can repeat yourself too often… I’ve unfollowed people who are a broken record about the same thing over and over. Is it a balance of “not too much” or a matter of changing up your content to keep interest?
  • 37:44 I know what you mean, Emily. We’ve all seen people who post the same freaking blog post over and over again. It is a matter of balance. There’s nothing wrong with re-sharing your best old content. I’m not a social media guru, but maybe don’t post the same link twice in two weeks. Make sure that the content you do post is something your audience will find valuable, something they’re interested in.
  • 41:09 Alex Kelerman asked: What do you do when you put in your calendar and still fail to do it?
  • 41:25 If it’s in your calendar, you should be doing it. This is about respecting yourself. Merlin Mann has written tons of fantastic things about calendars and priorites and time and attention (seriously, just go read and watch everything on his site).
  • 41:41 Public accountability will help. Tell people that you are going to release a podcast every week. Figure out how much time you’re willing to invest in making the thing and then carve that much time out of your schedule every week. Commit to it.
  • 41:30 If I put something in the calendar, it’s happening. If someone asks me to do something, I check the calendar. If it shows I’m free, I can put that thing in my calendar if I really want to do it. If I don’t want to do something, I say no. That can be hard sometimes, but if you really want to accomplish something, then it needs to be a priority over everything else. You can’t just do it when you feel like doing it.