How Do I Prepare for a Podcast or Live Talk as an Introvert?

Julia Barnickle giving a talk about introverts at The Polyglot Gathering in Berlin, 2016
Julia Barnickle gives a talk about introverts at The Polyglot Gathering, Berlin 2016

In The Quiet Entrepreneur Facebook group this week, community member and comic strip artist Richard Pettitt posted a link to a podcast where he was interviewed by fellow introvert Tara Roskell.

Richard says: “I was nervous about doing the interview because it’s a one-take, not a twenty-five-take like my own videos/audios are! But talking to Tara on Skype (no camera) was just like chatting to a friend on the phone, and once she got me onto topics that I was happy and excited to talk about, I was away.

It helped that I saw most of the questions a few days beforehand so I could mentally prepare a little. I was aware that the interview wasn’t live, and that nobody but Tara was listening to the conversation at the time (And if I felt it had gone terribly, I could probably have told Tara not to share it). So, if anybody gets the opportunity to be interviewed for a podcast, I’d say go for it, because it actually feels very introvert-friendly.

Do a practice run

I was interviewed for a podcast myself, in 2013, and I also felt very nervous beforehand – partly because I didn’t know the interviewer very well (we had met online through a mutual friend only a couple of weeks before), and partly because, as an introvert, I don’t like being put on the spot and having to come up with intelligible answers.

About a week before the podcast we arranged a Skype call, so that we could get to know each other and learn about each other’s conversational style. That made a huge difference, because we actually got on very well, and we were each able to sense when the other person had finished talking – so we didn’t end up talking over each other all the time.

If possible, get a copy of the questions

Like Richard, I had been sent a copy of the questions (lots of them), and I actually wrote down my answers to each question, in case I developed amnesia on the day! It’s invaluable to have a copy of the questions in advance, so that you can prepare yourself – because, as all introverts know, we do like to prepare what we’re going to say, rather than speaking off-the-cuff.

It was quite a different experience when I was interviewed by a journalist for an article in The Telegraph, in 2015. On that occasion, I had no previous knowledge of what questions I would be asked – which did make me feel a bit nervous, but by that time I had developed greater confidence in my ability to talk on the subject of being an introvert in business.

I also knew that the article was timed to coincide with the launch of “The Introvert Entrepreneur” book by Beth Buelow, and that my comments would form only a small part of the whole article, so I felt slightly less pressured than if I had been the principle interviewee.

If all else fails, talk to yourself!

When I was preparing to do a talk about introvert polyglots at The Polyglot Gathering in Berlin, in 2016, I spent nearly a month simply talking out loud to an imaginary audience, so that I could work out exactly what I wanted to say. By the time I did the live talk, I was so familiar with my content that I didn’t need many notes – although I did subject my audience to Powerpoint slides, to keep me on track!

Talking to yourself might seem to be an odd thing to do – but in my research for my polyglot talk, I discovered that a high percentage of introverts talk to themselves when they want to practise another language. So perhaps it’s not such a daft idea. In my experience, it helps to embed the content of your talk in your brain – and I’m not talking about learning a script, but simply becoming so familar with your topic that it flows easily and naturally on the day.

About the author Julia Barnickle - The Quiet EntrepreneurJulia Barnickle is a film maker, photographer, artist and writer, and the founder of The Quiet Entrepreneur community for introverts in business. She offers visibility coaching to raise your online profile, and helps you create videos to promote and deliver your services.

Follow Julia on Instagram | Youtube | Twitter | or on her website.

2 comments… add one
  • Hi Julia,

    It was great talking to Richard on the podcast, thanks for giving us a mention. I think I was more nervous than Richard who seemed so calm, but as an introvert, I am hoping that the more I do stuff like this the more confident I will get. Interesting to hear you say about practising talking to yourself, as this week I attempted to read bits of a book aloud to myself. I tend to talk to quickly when I am nervous so thought it might help me speak more clearly. Congratulations on doing your live talk in 2016, I don’t think I am brave enough for that yet.

    I would love to have you on the podcast sometime if you would consider it (maybe when I have had a bit more practice)?

    All the best

    Tara recently posted..Postal Artist Scott Thomson Talks Mail Art and CreativityMy Profile

    • Hi Tara
      Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply… (not sure what happened to April!)
      You make a very good point, about talking quickly when you’re feeling nervous – I tend to do that too, when I’m nervous or excited.
      And yes – I would love to join you on your podcast when you’re ready. Thank you for asking! 🙂

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