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 giving a talk about introverts at The Polyglot Gathering in 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.

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